SXSW 2014: The Year of Tragedy

March 14, 2014 Updated: April 23, 2016

If there’s anything that will forever be remembered at this’s years South by Southwest festival, it would be the drunk driving incident that occurred early Thursday morning that left two dead outside the Mohawk in Austin, Texas.

The driver, 21-year old Rashad Owens was stopped by police at around 12:30 A.M. at a D.U.I. checkpoint and performed a sobriety test before speeding away. He drove into a crowd of people eager to see rapper Tyler, The Creator for the House of Vans Showcase.  

Among the dead include Steve Craenmehr of MassiveMusic, a music and booking agency based in Amsterdam and 27-year old Jamie Ranae West of Austin. 23 others were injured as a result and were recovering at University Medical Center Brackenridge and St. David’s HealthCare facilities.

Earlier today, MassiveMusic released a statement regarding Craenmehr’s death saying: “It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden passing of our close friend and colleague Steven Craenmehr, 35, on March 13th, 2014 at SXSW.”

“During the 8 years that Steven worked for MassiveMusic, we got to know him as an unstoppable force, full of life, love and laughter,” they added.

Ironically, Owens was in Austin to rap at a club during the festival. He is currently being held in Travis County Jail without bond and was held on suspicion of the two murders and the injuries of 23 others.

SXSW officials said that the events will continue as scheduled and will be making schedule and venue changes for programming in the area of the accident.

Last night’s high profile performances included Lady Gaga, where she performed a block away from the incident and dedicated her encore to the victims.

A fund called the SXSW Cares Fund was created Thursday to help the victims and families of those affected by the accident and $20,000 has already been raised. Vans will donate all proceeds made during the remainder of the SXSW Festival to the fund.