Multiple Lawsuits Filed Against SXSW

South By Southwest is supposed to be a time to let loose and enjoy music, films, and the interactive conferences that are held, but this year’s festivities took a turn for the worse when a drunk idiot tried to evade police at a D.U.I. checkpoint which resulted in him killing several people and injuring dozens more.

Now, almost a year after the horrific incident took place, seven lawsuit have been filed again SXSW by the families of those killed in the fatal crash that took place in the early hours of March 13, 2014 on Red River, according to the Associated Press.

The wrongful death lawsuit have been filed in both federal and Texas state court.

But, the festival and their private companies, SXSW Holdings INC. and SXSW LLC aren’t the only ones being named in the suits, the traffic consulting firm, Traffic Design Consultants, LLC and the person who headed the project, Patrick Lowe, have also been named.

One of the suits claims that the tragedy was “foreseeable and predictable” and that all those involved, especially the festival, ignored safety regulations and industry standards by not using “rigid barriers.”

“A festival organizer or traffic design consultant of ordinary intelligence would have anticipated danger” cites one of the lawsuits.

They also claim that the festival and everyone involved should have anticipated that something would happen due to all the excessive alcohol consumption that was going on. The suit even cited that Austin is the “number one for alcohol consumption in Texas.”

But, it sill does not end there. The lawsuit also says that the festival’s Right-Of-Way permit puts them in “legal possession of the street where the crash occurred.”

“The only way to force a private company like South by Southwest to take action in the future is to hold them accountable for their failures in the past,” states Scott Hendler, the attorney for one of the families.

“Otherwise, there’s no incentive for them to do anything different.”

Lizzy Plug, the wife of one of the first victim’s identified as Steven Craenmehr mirrored her attorney’s sentiment.

“South by Southwest is accountable for this tragedy, in my thoughts.”

In the response to the lawsuit SXSW have released the following statement:

“What happened on Red River was a terrible tragedy, caused by Rashad Owen’s utter disregard of human life. Our hearts continue to ache for those injured and the families of those who lost their lives. We look forward to his prosecution for his awful crimes.”

In September, a report sanctioned by SXSW done by the city of Austin revealed that crowd management issues including traffic congestion attributed to the crash.

The report also revealed that the city might also have some blame because of the overcrowding of venues and the high consumption of alcohol compromised the

Due to the report, the festival has already planned to minimize the amount of unofficial event surrounding them including the FADER Fort and the Hype Hotel. As of now, SXSW is asking for the city to limit the amount of permits distributed for events that require temporary permits.

As for the man behind all of this tragedy, Rashad Owens, he is currently in jail on capital murder charges. He is also being sued by the families.

Dropkick Murphys’ Bus Involved in Fatal Accident

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The Dropkick Murphy’s tour bus was involved in an accident in the early hours on Sunday morning that resulted in the band having to cancel their Tulsa tour date last night (Nov. 16).

While en route to Dallas’ airport to drop off a member of the band who was flying home, the band’s tour bus struck a pedestrian north of Austin, TX. Round Rock police confirmed that the accident occurred around 3 a.m. near Interstate 35.

The fatal incident left the band with “a driver that has been severely shaken up by the accident” as well as a “bus too damaged to continue to Tulsa” which resulted in the Boston band having to cancel the show.

In a statement to fans, mostly directed at those attending the show at Cain’s Ballroom, the band revealed they tried to get to Tulsa, but things did not pan out as they hoped for, running out of time before everything could make it to Arizona.
All tickets for the show had been refunded for those who purchased tickets for the event.

Police are currently investigating the incident to confirm whether it was a suicide. In the band’s Facebook statement, they wrote that the pedestrian, who still has yet to be identified, “suddenly ran onto the highway.”

No word yet on whether the band will pick up their tour which is scheduled to continue this Wednesday in Mexico at Salon Jose Cuervo.

Two Dead, 23 Injured in Crash at SXSW

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UPDATE:

The identity of the two victims as well as the driver of the vehicle have been revealed.

The first victim of the crash this morning was 35-year-old Steven Craenmehr. Craenmehr’s identity had been confirmed by his employer, Massive Music where he worked as a creative director at their Amsterdam office.

The Travis County Medical Examiner identified the other person who died as 27-year-old Jamie Ranae West of Austin. West and her husband, Evan West, were both riding the moped that was struck by the vehicle; he was one of the many that were hospitalized.

As for the driver who caused this complete fiasco, he has been identified as Rashad Charjuan Owens, a 21-year-old from Killeen, Texas. The San Antonio Express-News revealed that he has a hefty criminal record.

In 2010, he was convicted of criminal trespassing in Killeen and then the following year was charged with driving under the influence of marijuana in Fairbanks, Alaska. e was also charged with leaving the scene of an accident which was then dropped. He claimed that he lost control of the SUV he was driving and “drove off because he didn’t know he had to call police.”

More information has also been revealed, including that Owens was set to perform at one of the events scheduled to take place at Club 1808 near Chicon Street and 12th; the crash occurred near East 11th.

Lamar Wilson, a man claiming to be the suspect’s brother, said that Owens was a musician who rapped and produced under the names, KillingAllBeatz or K.A.B254.

As of now, Owens is going to be charged with two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle.

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South By Southwest is supposed to be a week full of films, music, interactive conferences and fun, but early this morning the situation went turned from enjoyable to deadly.

According to police reports, at around 12:30 a.m., a driver crashed into a group of people who were standing outside the Mohawk at 9th and Red River, killing two and injuring another 23. Of those 23, five of them are reportedly in critical condition.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said in a press conference that two people who were pronounced dead on the scene; one was a male on a bicycle from the Netherlands and the other was a female riding a moped.

Police reported that the man had pulled into a near-by gas station in his silver Toyota in an effort to evade an officer that was working a D.U.I. checkpoint. He move his vehicle through several parked car and then took off at a high speed in the wrong direction of a one-way street. He then proceeded to turn right on Red River Street, crashing though a previously set up barricade, narrowly missing a police office standing post.

He then went on to hit the moped, a taxi, a van, and other vehicles, as well as pedestrians waiting in front of The Mohawk where Tyler, the Creator was slated to perform, before jumping out of his car and running away. The driver was chased by police and eventually tasered then taken into custody.

The driver is facing two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle.

Beyoncé Caught By a Fan

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We knew that Beyoncé has fans, but we didn’t expect for those “fans” to grab a hold of her hair and not let go. Before you stat thinking that it was a rabid fan, like a human, then you would be wrong; it was actually a fan, like ones that blow air!

During her show last night in Montreal as part of her Mrs. Carter Tour show, the wind-blowing device caught a lock of Queen Bey’s hair while she was in the middle of a song. Being the professional that she is, the singer continued on with “Halo” not once missing a beat even though her hair was in peril. 

All the while, security guards jumped to help her (and her hair) out of the sticky situation. Instead of shrugging it off and pretending that the incident did not take place, she found it quite comical and went on to post actual video footage, that was taken by someone in the audience pit, and posted up on her Instagram for all to watch (and laugh we take it).

But just when you though that was all that she would post on the unfortunate matter, the singer also posted up a cue sheet with a reworked version of lyrics to “Halo.”  Lyrics include, “Gravity can’t begiiiiiin to pull me out of the fan again” and “I felt my hair was YANKIIIIIIIN.”

You can watch the video of Beyoncé here and the lyrics down below.

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3 Doors Down Bassist Charged of Vehicular Manslaughter

Nashville Police Dept. / Reuters

Nashville Police Dept. / Reuters

Robert Todd Harrell, bassist for 3 Doors Down has been charged with vehicular manslaughter after being involved in an accident that caused the death of another person.

A police statement released said that Harrell had been driving at a high rate of speed in a Nashville suburb when he clipped a pick-up truck driven by the victim,  47-year-old Paul Howard Shoulders Jr. The pickup then went out of control, struck a guardrail, went down an embankment and overturned. At the time, Shoulders was not wearing his seat belt which resulted in him being ejected from the truck.

Harrell’s car hit a retaining wall and stopped about a quarter-mile away from the crash site. When police arrived on the scene, they noted that he showed signs of impairment when he underwent field sobriety tasks and even acknowledged that he had consumed hard cider and had taken prescription Lortab and Xanax.

Once taken into jail, he was also charged with bringing controlled substances into the jail when it was discovered that he had a plastic bag concealed in his sock with eight Xanax pills, 24 Oxycodone pills and four Oxymorphone pills during a search at the booking room.

While Harrell is still holed up in the Nashville jail despite a $100,000 bond, his band released the following statement on their website: ““We are deeply saddened by the passing of Paul Howard Shoulders, Jr. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and friends at this difficult time.”

Bieber’s Very Bad Week

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Looks like London just doesn’t like Justin Bieber or he’s just having a hell of a bad week.

First, he shows up more than two hours late for his shows which fans and parents of the fans alike were not to happy with. Then he followed it up with the scapegoat excuse of “technical difficulties.” Just last night, it was reported that the Canadian pop star fainted on stage due to shortness of breath, but after getting some oxygen backstage, he was able to rally through the end of his show thanks in part to the encouragement of his fans, not the ones he sort of snubbed the day before.

Now he’s had an altercation with a paparazzo which resulted in his own body guard having to restrain him. Bieber was quoted as saying such things to the paparazzo as “F..k off you little cock, f..k off back to America” and “I’ll beat the f..k out of you.” So far, there has been to actual reason why this altercation took place, but the pop star did tweet a few massages to his fans about how he felt about the explicit-filled altercation.

“Ahhhhh! Rough morning. Trying to feel better for this show tonight but let the paps get the best of me…”

“Sometimes when people r shoving cameras in your face all day and yelling the worst thing possible at u…well I’m human. Rough week.”

“Not gonna let them get the best of me again. Gonna get focused on this show tonight. Adrenaline is high now. Gonna put it on the stage…Only way someone can break u is if u let them.”

As if that wasn’t bad enough, just yesterday his leech of a friend, Lil’ Twist, crashed his Friske into a set of cement poles in front of a liquor store and bailed which constitutes as a hit and run in the state of California since there was damage done to the property as well as the car.

Even with all these set backs, Bieber is set to take the stage once again tonight for day four of this O2 Arena tour stops.