In a brazen incident that has been referred to as a 'vehicular homicide,' an alleged drunk driver plowed through barricades that were erected to cordon off an area for music fans at Austin's annual SXSW music festival, killing two people and injuring 23 others, LA Weekly has reported. The car hit a crowd of people outside a nightclub in downtown Austin where the SXSW 2014, an annual music, film and interactive conference and festival, was being held.
Describing the incident as a case of hit and run, the USA Today reported that the alleged drunk driver initially fled on foot.
The mishap took place outside the Mohawk bar early on Thursday morning on Red River and 10 streets in downtown Austin. Reports say that the the man plowed through the crowd slightly after 12:30am local time.
The news was first reported by the Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Service Public Information Office.
Out of the 23 people taken to hospital, 5 are in critical condition, CNN Reported.
The Austin Police Department has said via Twitter that the individual concerned is in custody. The names of the deceased will not be released until proper notifications have been made.
Individual is in custody. More details shortly. The names of the deceased will not be released until proper notifications have been made.
— Austin Police Dept (@Austin_Police) March 13, 2014
Photos and videos posted to social media showed people lying on the street and sidewalk with paramedics kneeling over them.
On a YouTube video, apparently shared by an eyewitness, people present at the site say that a car sped through the crowd, throwing some victims into the air while knocking others down.
"Basically what happened - it was still under DWI investigation - driver ran through some temporary barricades we had set up for South by Southwest and after running through the barricades, he continued to drive, hitting multiple pedestrians," an eyewitness told LA Weekly.
Officers patrolling the area to protect SXSW crowds were right at the crime scene and quickly arrested a suspect, reports suggest.
It was also later confirmed that the news of driver being pursued by cops before he plowed into the crowd were false.
The below YouTube video was posted by an individual called Socrates Villarreal: