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2 dead, 23 hurt after car hits crowd outside SXSW venue
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2 dead, 23 hurt after car hits crowd outside SXSW venue

At least two are dead and 21 injured after a vehicle drove through barricades and into a crowd of South by Southwest festival goers at around 12:30 a.m. Thursday, March 13, 2014. Austin police chief Art Acevedo briefs media regarding the accident.

2 dead, 23 hurt after car hits crowd outside SXSW venue

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Two people were killed and nearly two dozen injured early Thursday after a car ran into a crowd of pedestrians outside the Mohawk, a South by Southwest venue in downtown Austin.

According to The Austin American-Statesman, the car, which was being pursued by a DWI task force officer, ran through a barricade near the venue at 12:30 a.m. The driver reportedly struck several pedestrians before striking a scooter, killing the man and woman on board. The driver then hit a taxi, injuring two, and crashed into a parked van. 

Twenty-three people were hurt – five of them critically, Austin police Chief Art Acevedo said.

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The driver, who police have not yet identified, is in custody and will be charged with two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle. 

Scott Jakota from Indiana said the car was a gray Prius. Jakota, one of the first people hit, said the driver revved the car "and I was thrown up in the sky." He appeared to have a leg injury and was being helped by his friends.

John Wickham, owner of Elysium, who was on the upper level of the Mohawk, told the Statesman he saw a car coming down the street fast with a police car in pursuit. He saw the car hit several people. He said he did not see the police car hit anyone.

Witnesses, including American-Statesman photographer Jay Janner, saw CPR was being performed on several people. 

Acevedo said there was little that could have been done to stop the driver’s rampage at the annual music and arts festival, which draws tens of thousands of people. 

“This traffic-management plan is a plan that has worked for many years, and obviously when we have something like this, we will review it,” he said. “But when somebody decides to do the things that this man did, it’s part of life and ultimately we have to hold people accountable for their actions. This individual acted in a reckless, willful disregard for the people that were here at this event.”

Police will provide more information at a 10:30 a.m. CDT (11:30 a.m. EDT) news conference, Acevedo said. 

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