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Thu Dec 18, 2014, 11:26 PM

Fatal South by Southwest crash brings first wave of lawsuits

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) The first wave of victim lawsuits since four people died at the South by Southwest music festival accused organizers Thursday of safety lapses after a driver smashed through a barricade and into a crowd of concertgoers.

Aspiring rapper Rashad Charjuan Owens has remained jailed on capital murder charges since the March crash that authorities say happened while Owens fled police during an attempted midnight traffic stop. Hundreds of music lovers were milling outside a bustling district of clubs at the time.

The crash also left nearly two dozen people injured, and organizers of the once-obscure Austin festival have faced questions since the accident about how they have managed the event's transformation into an international extravaganza. The festival now regularly draws top artists such as Prince and Lady Gaga.

Among several wrongful deaths lawsuits was one by the family of Steven Craenmehr, a Dutch music executive who was riding a bike when struck. His widow and mother allege that SXSW organizers skimped on traffic safeguards while packing people downtown to hear more than 2,000 bands.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/texas/article/Fatal-South-by-Southwest-crash-brings-first-wave-5966857.php

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