Rashad Owens (pictured), an aspiring rapper who killed three people and injured 23 in a fatal car accident at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, will be charged with capital murder (aka the death penalty), according to police.
Authorities confirmed the news Friday as they revealed that the accident came as a result of Owens trying to evade a drunk driving checkpoint. HuffPost Canada Music reports the 21-year-old’s blood alcohol later tested at .114, over the legal limit of .08
Owens reportedly had other warrants out for his arrest when he made a wrong turn down a one-way road while trying to evade police who were following him. According to reports, Owens crashed through a barricade before driving his vehicle into a crowd at Austin’s Red River entertainment district. The crash claimed the lives of Steven Craenmehr, 35, of Holland and Jamie West, 27, of Austin on Thursday. The third victim in the crash, Sandy Thuy Le, 26, died on Monday from injuries she sustained after she was struck outside the Mohawk music club, Austin police spokeswoman Veneza Bremner told the Associated Press.
Le’s funeral is planned for Saturday in her hometown of Pass Christian, Miss., the AP reports. Kendra Clawson, a spokeswoman for University Medical Center, revealed to the AP that five of the 21 injured remain hospitalized Monday at the facility, including two in serious condition. Two other victims remain hospitalized in another location.
The SXSW crash is the latest in a string of encounters Owens has had with the law. In October 2011, Owens pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in Fairbanks, when he was 19, court records show. A year later, Owens was charged with criminal mischief in Alaska. A warrant was issued for him after he failed to appear in court. In 2010, he pleaded guilty after being arrested by Killeen Independent School District police for criminal trespassing.
Owens’ brother, Lamar, recalled the last time he saw Owens, which was Wednesday evening before his 1 a.m. show at Club 1808. Speaking with the Austin-American Statesman Lamar remembered that Owens, who raps under the name KillingAllBeatz or K.A.B254, had been drinking and did not know the streets of Austin, TX well.
In addition to capital murder, Owens is charged with aggravated assault with a motor vehicle. He is accused of driving drunk and fleeing from police, then intentionally driving into the festivalgoers.
According to the AP, Owen is jailed on $3 million bond. Prosecutors are expected to seek additional charges against him from a grand jury.
News of the crash has struck a nerve among SXSW attendees as the event has set up a relief fund for victims at SXSWcares.com and offered counseling from the Red Cross.
On Friday, every Austin, TX venue held a minute of silence that night at midnight to pay tribute to the victims. A candlelight vigil will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday night at 9th and Red River, across the street from The Mohawk.
For more, click here.