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SXSW Crash Victim Talks Death Of Boyfriend & Festival Changes

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AUSTIN (CBS 11 NEWS) - North Texan Curtisha Davis remembers walking down Red River Street in Austin, heading to a restaurant to get food. The next thing she remembers is waking up in a hospital bed.

Davis was with her boyfriend, Deandre Tatum, at the 2014 South By Southwest Festival (SXSW) when police said a man they were chasing, Rashad Owens, plowed through barricades and into a crowd of pedestrians. Investigators said he was drinking and had a blood alcohol level above the legal limit. They also said his action injured nearly two dozen and killed four people at the festival.

SXSW barricades
(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

Tatum was one of those people who lost their lives that day. "Not a day goes by where I don't think about what happened to us," Davis said.

It has been a rough year of recovery for Davis. The Trimble Tech High School graduate said she is reminded by the reality of her loss each day.

As SXSW ramps up again one year later, Davis said she only hopes changes are in place to no one has to go through her pain. "It could have been preventable."

♦♦♦ News From The 2014 SXSW Deadly Crash ♦♦♦

Organizers of SXSW would not answer specific questions regarding any changes in the 2015 festival. They released the following statement:

"Our deepest sympathies remain with the victims and families of those affected by last year's tragic incident. What happened was the result of one person's criminal actions, fueled by his  deliberate disregard for human life. Safety has always been a top priority for SXSW, and we will continue to work -- as we always have -- with the City of Austin, the police and fire departments, EMS and others to help keep the event as safe as possible."

Davis feels organizers of SXSW could be doing more.

"It's just nothing to them. It's not their problem. They didn't do anything," said Davis. "They're just moving forward, trying to make their money."

SXSW victim 2
Curtisha Davis (L) and her boyfriend Deandre Tatum. Both were injured in the deadly 2014 SXSW crash. Tatum died two weeks after being run down. (credit: Jeff Paul/CBS 11 News)

Organizers have pledged to cut down on overcrowding and limit the amount of free alcohol.

Davis said no amount of changes will bring back her sweetheart. "What if it was in their shoes?" she asked. "They'd want someone to remember someone who was close to them."

Several lawsuits have been filed against SXSW.

Owens remains in jail facing a capital murder charge among many others. His trial could begin as early as November.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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