A man and a woman were killed and dozens of others were injured in Austin, Texas, early this morning after a driver fleeing the police crashed his vehicle through barricades set up for the South by Southwest festival, plowing into a crowd, police said.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said 23 people were injured, five of them critically, in the incident. The driver is suspected of DWI, according to ABC affiliate KVUE.
The two victims who died were on a moped and the entire incident only took one minute. Many of the pedestrians were leaving a club where a concert had been held, Acevedo said.
Eight of the 23 injured were sent to Brackenridge Emergency at University Medical Center, according to Dr. Christopher Ziebell, medical director at the University Medical Center Brackenridge emergency department.
"Seven [were received] right away and the eighth was transferred in overnight from one of the hospitals across town when they discovered injuries that were a little more severe than they could deal with," Ziebell said. "Of these eight persons, two are critically injured and in very critical condition, another three are in serious condition and are in some level of higher or intensive care. Two patients were treated and released, including the driver that was involved in this incident."
Austin Police Lt. Brian Moon said the driver -- who has since been taken into custody -- didn't stop, even after crashing through the temporary barricades.
"The driver continued to drive after crashing through the barricades and hit numerous pedestrians before the vehicle stopped," Moon told ABC News Radio.
Travis County paramedics and Medical responders were able to respond to the scene quickly, because the incident occurred so close to the hospital. Harry Evans, Chief of Staff for the Austin Fire Department said that the trauma patients were removed within 15 minutes and the rest of the patients were transferred from the scene within 47 minutes.
The EMS team had just conducted a mass casualty incident training the week before, and one of their training scenarios involved a car plowing into a crowd of people.
"I spoke with the EMS medical doctor in the night and he was telling me that just last week his commanders had gone through some mass casualty incident training, and one of the scenarios that they drilled on was a car going into a crowd," Ziebell said. "So they had just a week ago practiced this exact scenario and debriefed on it and talked about how they could do it better."
After the accident, the man jumped out of his car and tried to run -- but officers shocked him with a stun gun, Acevedo said.
The accident happened around 12:30 a.m. at the intersection of Red River Street and East 10th Street, near several clubs. Photos taken at the scene show victims lying in the street, with emergency vehicles responding.
Emergency workers gave life-saving CPR to one of the injured pedestrians, officials said.
One suspect, whose name is not yet confirmed, is in custody after being released from the hospital and faces two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault by vehicle.
David Minick attended the festival this year, but left on Monday. However, he said that many of his friends were still there during the incident.
"Tons of my friends are at South by Southwest right now and everyone is on social media posting a general 'I'm ok, my crew is ok' and 'awful what happened', but it's been interesting to see a lot of people putting out condolences and sending out the word through social media that everyone is fine."
He also spoke about the drinking culture of SXSW.
"That area is packed this time of year, and there is a lot of drinking going on and a lot of free alcohol which is different from other festivals," Minick said. "For the most part I feel people are very responsible and taking cabs or walking. it sounds like this guy totally freaked out, ran from the cops and really screwed up."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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