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Report: Car in deadly SXSW rampage apparently stolen

AUSTIN - The suspected drunken driver accused of slamming into a crowd at Austin's popular South by Southwest music festival early Thursday, killing two people, was driving a car that had apparently been stolen, reports CBS affiliate KEYE-TV.

A man in Killeen, Texas reportedly filed a stolen vehicle report this morning with the local police. The license plates on the stolen vehicle match the car in the fatal rampage, reports the station.

The suspect in the rampage, who has not yet been identified, is expected to be charged with two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle, according to Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo.

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.. 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.

Acevedo addressed a crowd of reporters Thursday morning on Red River street, which was still littered with shoes, clothing and debris from the incident, reports the Austin Statesman. Acevdeo confirmed that two were killed and 23 others were injured. One of the dead was a male cyclist from the Netherlands, and the other was a woman from Austin who was riding on the back of a moped, reports KEYE.

Earlier reports had indicated a man and a woman riding a moped had both been killed. The man who was on the moped is in good condition, the chief said.

He said the suspect acted with "reckless and willful disregard for the safety of the citizens of this city."

Police said the incident started when an officer on a drunk-driving patrol tried to stop the silver Toyota sedan at a gas station a few blocks away. The car took off, weaving between parked cars, then driving at high speed the wrong way down a one-way street.

The driver rammed through police barriers -- three wooden pieces held up by metal poles -- set up on Red River Street on the northeast edge of the entertainment district near The Mohawk nightclub, where multiple acts were to perform Wednesday night. The bands X and TEEN had just wrapped up, and rapper Tyler the Creator was scheduled to perform at 1 a.m.

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

The "vast majority" of the patients are in their 20s, KEYE reported.

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.
  • Crimesider Staff

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