The South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, has a reputation for being a nine-day haven for tech-savvy, young professionals. It also has a reputation for intense partying.
After a car crashed through a barricade and killed two people at the festival in the wee hours of Thursday morning, the latter may be starting to overshadow the former.
An unnamed driver who was trying to avoid a DWI traffic stop turned onto Red River Street, which was closed off for the festival, and drove for more than two blocks, according to the Austin American-Statesman
. In addition to the two people who were killed, 23 were injured. Many of the injured had been in line for a concert at Mohawk, a local night club.
The suspect will be charged with two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault. Police haven’t confirmed whether he was attending the festival.
As one might expect, the incident was well documented on social media. Mashable
has a roundup of some of the photos and videos that Twitter users shared.
Festival organizers haven’t said much about the incident other than to report it. A large logo on the SXSW website is accompanied by the headline, “Tragedy strikes at SXSW,” with a link to the Statesman
story. On Twitter, the official SXSW account asked anyone on scene for the crash to contact Austin police.
Many commenters on Twitter and Facebook have asked festival organizers for a statement or more information about the crash.
Transmission Events, the company that owns Mohawk, did issue this statement on Twitter
: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and injured from tonight’s tragedy. Please check and make sure everyone you know is home safe tonight.”
What’s your take, PR Daily readers? Has this tragedy sullied SXSW’s reputation? Will people blame the party atmosphere for one driver’s reckless behavior?