Deserve the Death Penalty? 3rd person Dies from Music Festival Crash. Dozens injured, many still hospitalized.
AUSTIN, Texas — A third person died Monday from injuries sustained in last week's tragedy in which a drunk driver plowed through a crowd outside a nightclub at the South By Southwest music festival.
A car hit the victim, Sandy Le, on Thursday outside The Mohawk nightclub, according to the Travis County Medical Examiner's Office.
Le, 26, was an Austin resident but was a native of Pass Christian, Miss., according to her family. She had been on life support in critical condition since the accident occurred.
"She lived in this whimsy that almost made you jealous, she was a very carefree and nonchalant person with a definitely giving spirit, and she was very selfless," said her brother-in-law, Stuart Gates of Hattiesburg, Miss. "She was full of life, she was quirky, and she was always someone you were looking forward to seeing."
Le was with a group of friends, some also injured, when police say Rashad Owens, 21, of Killeen, Texas, crashed through a barricade closing the downtown street to vehicle traffic. He's accused of driving drunk, fleeing from police and intentionally driving into a crowd of festival-goers.
Jamie West, 27, of Austin; and Steven Craenmehr, 35, of Amsterdam, were killed that night. Twenty-two others were injured. Seven people remain hospitalized, including one other in critical condition.
Craenmehr was on a bicycle, and West was on a moped with her husband, police say. West's husband remains in the hospital.
SXSW ended its 28th year early Sunday.
Owens has been charged with capital murder, which means he will face the death penalty in court, and aggravated assault with a motor vehicle. He remained in jail Monday on $3 million bond.
Owens' blood-alcohol level was 0.114 at the time of his arrest, police say. The legal limit in Texas is 0.08.
Le's family — her parents, a brother, and three sisters — came to Austin to be with her, Gates said.
"We've been through the indecision and the hope of pulling for a miracle," Gates said. "Now we're starting the business side of things, the funeral and the logistics."
Her funeral likely will be this weekend, he said.
Le graduated from the Mississippi School for Math and Science in 2006 and attended college at both the University of Southern Mississippi and Mississippi State University, Gates said. She had moved to Austin to establish residency and planned to return to school there.
Le's family has had several tragedies in the past few years, Gates said: The family lost their home in Hurricane Katrina, their shrimping business was hit during the BP oil spill, then Le's uncle disappeared from his dive boat in July and never was found.
"I'm just … hurting for adjectives right now," he said. "We've lost someone who knew how to live life and knew how to make people happy."
(Contributing: Therese Apel, The (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger)