Third person dies from South by Southwest crash in Texas capital

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 17, 2014 1:05 PM

By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A third person has died as a result of a motorist plowing his car into a crowd of people outside a nightclub last week at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, officials said on Monday.

University Medical Center Brackenridge and Austin police a 26-year-old woman, Sandy Thuy Le, has died. She was one of the five people listed as being in critical condition after the incident last Thursday.

Rashad Charjuan Owens, 21, from Killeen, Texas, has been charged with capital murder for the incident that has claimed three lives and left nearly two dozen people injured.

Police said Owens fled from a sobriety checkpoint smashed through a police barricade and then plowed down people, some of them lined up outside a nightclub, over a span of several city blocks.

The two other people killed were Jamie West, 27, from Austin and Steven Craenmehr, 35, of Amsterdam.

Le's brother-in-law described her as someone who was quirky and full of life.

"She lived in this whimsy that almost made you jealous. She was a very carefree and nonchalant person with a definitely giving spirit, and she was very selfless," said Stuart Gates of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Le, a native Mississippi, attended both the University of Southern Mississippi and Mississippi State University for college. She moved to Austin and planned to go back to school there, her brother-in-law said.

Le's father was born in Vietnam and fought alongside U.S. troops during the Vietnam War. He moved to the United States where he started a family and a shrimping business. He and his wife had four girls and a boy.

The family lost its home because of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and bounced back, Gates said.

(Additional reporting by Therese Apel in Jackson, Mississippi; Editing by Marguerita Choy)