Third person dies from SXSW crash

This undated handout photo courtesy of the Le family shows Sandy Thuy Le. On Monday, March 17, 2014, Le became the third person to die after being struck by a suspected drunken driver in Austin last week during the South By Southwest festival Austin police spokeswoman Veneza Bremner said. (AP Photo/Le Family)
This undated handout photo courtesy of the Le family shows Sandy Thuy Le. Le became the third person to die after being struck by a suspected drunken driver in Austin last week. (AP Photo/Le Family)

A third person has died from injuries sustained in last week’s crash at the South by Southwest festival in Austin.

Sandy Thuy Le, 26, was one of five people initially listed in critical condition last Thursday after a suspected drunken driver plowed his car into a crowd of pedestrians. She died from injuries sustained when she was run over, The Associated Press reported. Stuart Gates, Le’s brother-in-law, said she was surrounded by friends and family when she died. Her funeral will be in her hometown of Pass Christian, Miss. on Saturday.

Gates told the Austin American Statesman:

“Anybody who had the privilege of knowing her would tell you she’s just full of life. … Not to sound cliché, she would just brighten up a room when she would walk in. She had an amazing quirkiness about her that was irreplaceable.”

Police said the driver, Rashad Charjuan Owens, 21, was fleeing police when he crashed through temporary barricades set up for the festival and plowed into a crowd in Austin’s Red River Entertainment District. Two people were pronounced dead at the scene. More than 20 were injured.

According to the arrest warrant, Owens told police he “got scared” when he saw police lights in his rearview mirror on Thursday because he could have been arrested on outstanding warrants, including one connected to a custody battle over his daughter, AP reported.

Owens remained at Travis County Jail on Monday where his bail was set at $3 million.

Owens has been charged with capital murder for the incident that has claimed the lives of Le, Jamie West, 27, of Austin who was on a moped when the accident occurred and Steven Craenmehr, 35, of Amsterdam who was on a bicycle.

Le was the youngest of four children raised in a Vietnamese-American shrimping family in Pass Christian, according to media reports.

Her father was born in Vietnam and fought beside U.S. troops during the Vietnam War, Reuters reported. He moved to the U.S., starting a family and a shrimping business. They lost their home in Hurricane Katrina and had to stop working during the BP gulf oil spill, AP reported.

A Mississippi native, Le attended both the University of Southern Mississippi and Mississippi State University for college. Her brother-in-law said she had moved to Austin where she planned to go back to school, Reuters reported.

Lindsey Bever is a national news reporter for The Washington Post. Tweet her: @lindseybever
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