Families of South By Southwest Car Crash Victims File Seven Lawsuits
The first batch of lawsuits against the organizers of the South by Southwest music festival have been filed by the families of those affected by a horrifying car crash that killed four people and injured nearly two dozen more.
At the 2014 music conference, aspiring rapper Rashad Charjuan Owens was arrested after smashing his car into a barricade and a crowd of concertgoers. Owens drove his car through a DUI checkpoint and turned onto Red River, plowing through crowds of people as he attempted to flee. He's remained behind bars since the car crash. And while he's the target of seven different lawsuits filed by families of those affected by the incident, he's not the only one under fire.
According to ABC News, the lawsuits also name the South by Southwest organizers, claiming that they suffered safety lapses for their role in the incident. The wrongful death suits were filed in both federal and Texas state courts against two private companies -- SXSW Holdings INC and SXSW LLC. Also named in the suits are Traffic Design Consultants LLC.
The lawsuits claim that the incident was "foreseeable and predictable" and that the festival organizers ignored safety regulations and industry standards in creating barriers from traffic. It's also pointed out that the permit obtained for the event put the festival "in legal possession and control of the street" where the crash occurred.
South by Southwest issued a statement regarding the lawsuits and it reads as follows:
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.
The families of the victims have also launched a Change.org petition calling for South By Southwest to employ "common sense public safety measured" moving forward. Check it out here.