SXSW organisers issue statement following fatalities

A car ploughed into a group of pedestrians on Red River Street yesterday (March 12)

The organisers of South By Southwest have issued a statement following an incident last night (March 12) in which a car drove into a crowd of people on Red River Street, home to many venues used during the festival, killing two and injuring 23.

A statement published on the festival’s official website expresses sympathy for those affected and advises festival-goers to check the website and official Twitter feed for changes to the line-up. Police yesterday advised that Red River Street would be closed for most of the day.

The statement reads: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the tragic accident that took place last night here in Austin. We appreciate and commend the first responders as well as the city agencies who so quickly sprung into action.

“We will be making schedule and venue changes for programming in the surrounding area of last night’s events. All other programming will continue as previously scheduled. Please watch this website and for updates throughout the day.”

According to Austin’s Chief of Police Art Acevedo, the incident took place at 12.30am local time, after the suspect tried to drive away from a drink driving checkpoint. He ended up driving the wrong way down a one-way street – East 9th – before accelerating down Red River Street, during which he hit a number of pedestrians as well as a male and female adult on a moped, who both died. The suspect crashed into a parked van and then attempted to flee on foot, after which he was tasered. The entire incident took place over the course of one minute, starting at 12.30am and finishing at 12.31am.