Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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March 13, 2014

Police: 1 man, 1 woman died at South by Southwest

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A suspected drunken driver fleeing police crashed through barricades at the South By Southwest festival in Austin, slamming into a crowd outside a nightclub and killing a man on a bicycle and a woman on a moped early Thursday, police said.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said at a news conference that the motorist drove down a crowded street and ran into people in front of a nightclub around 12:30 a.m., injuring 23 people. He eventually crashed and tried to make a getaway on foot, but a police officer shocked him with a stun gun and took him into custody, Acevedo said.

The victims were a woman from Austin and a man from the Netherlands, Acevedo said. A man who was on the moped is in good condition, he said. No names have been released.

The driver, whose name also has not been released, faces two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle. Acevedo said it was an "intentional act," and that the suspect has been booked and formal charges will be filed this afternoon.

Two people were in critical condition Thursday morning with life-threatening head injuries and three patients remain in serious condition, said Dr. Christopher Ziebell, the emergency department director at the University Medical Center-Brackenridge said. He also said the driver was treated for minor injuries.

"The most critical patients I have a great deal of concern for," Ziebell said. "We are going to do our best for them, but these are some of the worst injuries that we see and not everybody with these kinds of injuries is going to survive."

The annual music, film and interactive conference draws tens of thousands to Austin each year, and the toll could have been much higher. The street had been packed with revelers just minutes earlier, but officials had cleared the area to create a fire lane.

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