More than a year-and-a-half after what happened on the morning of March 13, 2014 at Austin’s South by Southwest Festival, the driver who caused so much pain and hurt has been sentenced. On Friday (Nov. 6), the man on trial, Rashad Owens, learned his fate after a Travis County jury deliberate for three hours. Not surprising, the jury found him guilty of capital murder that resulted in four people losing their lives and 25 others suffering from injuries.
Since the state decided to forgo the death penalty, according to KXAN, Owens was sentenced to automatic life in prison with no chance of parole. The conviction means that Owens can spend anywhere from five to 99 years in prison.
For those not familiar with what happened that fateful morning during the annual festival in downtown Austin, police reportedly noticed a man had pulled into a near-by gas station in a silver Honda in an effort to evade an officer that was working a D.U.I. checkpoint. As it turned out, during the trial, Owens was not only under the influence (.114, over the .08 legal limit), but the silver 2012 Honda Civic that was involved was stolen.
Owens then proceeded to drive the vehicle in the wrong direction on a one-way street, resulting in him going through a previously set up barricade and into a crowd of people. At the time, there was a large gathering of people outside The Mohawk where rapper Tyler, the Creator was slated to perform.
Since the crash, several lawsuits have been filed both in federal and Texas state court. As of last December, a total of seven lawsuits were filed against the festival’s private companies (SXSW Holdings INC. and SXSW LLC), the traffic consulting firm (Traffic Design Consultants, LLC), and the person who headed the project, Patrick Lowe.