Car crash at SXSW may cause music fest to lose fans

Donations were raised for victims of crash

By Mariah Trammel
On March 21, 2014

Three students recount the experience they had on what was supposed to be a fun spring break.

Since 1987, South by Southwest (SXSW) has become of the largest festivals in the world. According to the SXSW website, the company that organizes the festival claims that Austin is the best location for the festival.

Unfortunately, the annual music fest got a little wild causing an accident that no one thought would happen.

A drunk driver killed three and left at least 23 people injured Thursday, March 13, at the SXSW music festival.

Rashad Owens, 21 of Killen, TX, drove while over the state's legal alcohol limit and crashed a car through police barricades, hitting over two dozen people. Owens is currently in custody facing counts of murder and aggravated assault.

"It was so quick, but all I remember seeing are bodies being shoved in the air like rag dolls," senior Donavan Roberts said. "People were screaming, running, and crying everywhere around me."

The event upset many of the witnesses and may result in a lack of attendees next year.

"Basically, this car went right past me," sophomore Zoee Montemayor said.  "I turned around and there are people that are lying on the floor."

After witnessing the accident, Montemayor decided to leave the festival early.

"I definitely ask myself if I'm going to go back again, and it would take a lot," Montemayor said. "There are way too many people to keep track of things."

The annual festival celebrates music, film and technology by holding various concerts and events throughout the city.

Every year the festival continues to grow. This year, an estimated 325,000 people attended throughout the course of a week.

"I wouldn't say SXSW has become too large, because no matter the situation, you're always going to have those one or two people that mess up everything," Roberts said.

Junior Mason Rollwitz said the concert is spread out pretty well but it still cause commotion.

"You don't expect someone to do that," he said. "It's not something that crosses your mind until it actually happens."

SXSW Cares is a fundraiser created to help the victims of the tragedy. In less than 24 hours, more than $40,000 was raised. The fundraiser has collected over $80,000 in donations.
"I went to a concert where it had happened two days later, and they had a donation box," Rollwitz said. "My whole group donated money."

Roberts said he was more shocked than anything else. He said he realized that anyone's life could be taken at any second.

 "I was mad because I couldn't believe somebody could do something so dumb," Roberts said. "Now I just have this image of dead bodies five feet away from me."

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