Police: SXSW Crash Suspect to Be Charged With 2 Murder Counts

Man who worked for Amsterdam-based music agency identified as one of 2 fatalities

Austin police said Thursday that the suspect in the deadly car crash that killed two SXSW attendees will be charged with two counts of capital murder.

According to local reports, police said two other victims remained in critical condition and three others had serious injuries. The suspect has been identified as 21-year-old Rashad Charjuan Owens. He has been booked and is awaiting arraignment later today.

The victims were Jamie Ranae West, a Central Texas woman who was riding on a moped with her husband Evan West, Steven Craenmehr, 35, who was riding a bicycle. West’s husband was among the 23 listed as injured and is still hospitalized.

Craenmehr was creative director for  Amsterdam-based music management and promotion agency MassiveMusic, which posted a statement on its website Thursday.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden passing of our close friend and colleague Steven Craenmehr, 35, on March 13th, 2014, at SXSW. During the 8 years that Steven worked for MassiveMusic, we got to know him as an unstoppable force, full of life, love and laughter. This is an irreplaceable loss for the MassiveMusic family and we are grateful for the years we spent with him. Our thoughts are with Steven’s family and friends.”

The mood at SXSW will undoubtedly be somber as festgoers react to the deaths and injuries of 23 others that occurred when a car plowed into a large crowd outside a club hosting one of the fest’s music showcases.

Festival organizers said the accident and continuing investigation around the Mohawk nightclub, where the deadly crash occurred shortly after 12:30 a.m., was forcing them to reschedule events that had been set for that venue and others nearby. The rest of the music and film events on the SXSW schedule will proceed as planned, organizers said.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the tragic accident that took place last night here in Austin. We appreciate and commend the first responders as well as the city agencies who so quickly sprung into action,” SXSW said in a statement issued Thursday.

Organizers directed attendees to watch the fest’s Twitter feed (twitter.com/sxsw) for schedule updates.

The film portion of SXSW is scheduled to run through Saturday, while the music leg, which began Tuesday, is to run through Sunday.

SEE ALSO: 2 Killed, 23 Injured as Car Plows into Crowd at SXSW

Earlier Thursday, fest organizers sent a tweet asking witnesses to call the Austin Police Department with any information on the crash outside the Mohawk nightclub. Police said at a news conference early Thursday that the suspect had been evading an attempted stop by police for  drunken driving.

According to the fest’s schedule, the Swedish DJ duo Icona Pop was to have been in the midst of a 45-minute set at Mohawk’s indoor performance space at the time of the crash. The Mohawk’s outdoor space was listed as featuring a special guest — identified as the veteran L.A. band X by the Austin American Statesman.

Since news of the accident went public, those in the industry have been tweeting their condolences and reactions.


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  1. Kay Howard says:

    To help the family of Jamie West who was killed and her husband Evan West who was critically injured in the SXSW incident – please see the link below. Thank you.


  2. Jake says:

    These street festivals and farmers markets that are held on city streets need concrete barriers to prevent future tragedies. Outfits like SXSW need to be held accountable for accidents waiting to happen.

  3. sigh says:

    condolences in 140 or less.

    those tweets . . .

  4. Beat Me Up says:

    I feel so much better after reading these moronic Tweets by moronic celebs. Why, with the likes of GAGA telling her Little Monsters to stay safe; we cannot help but be warmed by such useless artifice. And that reminds me, what the heck is GAGA doing at SXSW..? And who exactly is St. Vincent..? She sounds pretty deep. I’m surprised to read she has a heart, a brain would be too much to ask as we’d then expect something sincere. I bet she plagiarized that from Shia Le-Goof. Let’s not forget that Tyler is ‘Sad’ and ‘Bummed’, wow, must be as such so as not to post a period at the end of his brain-cramp-hollow-me-here Tweet. What a bunch of losers.

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