A Forth Worth teenager tragically became the fourth person to die from injuries caused by a driving rampage during the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin last month.
De’Andre Tatum was just 18 years old when he died at University Medical Center, where he had been in a medically induced coma since the night 21-year old Rashad Owens ran his car into a crowd of festival goers. Tatum was on Red River Street with his girlfriend when Owens’s car struck them both, along with several other people, two of whom were pronounced dead at the scene. Tatum suffered a broken leg, broken pelvis, and a severe brain injury, which doctors tried to minimize by keeping Tatum in a coma. He had just graduated from Forth Worth’s Trimble Tech high school in 2013.
Tatum’s pastor confirmed the news, and students from Trimble Tech gathered to remember Tatum for his warmth and spirit. They noted that Tatum always had a lot of friends, and that people “could not meet him and not love him.” He was praised for being a source of strength to those around him — so much so that many students believed that he would be able to overcome his injuries. A candlelight vigil will be held in his honor. While Tatum’s girlfriend suffered critical injuries as well, she was eventually released and returned home to North Texas in mid-March. She is currently a senior at Trimble Tech.
Rashad Owens has been charged with two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault. He plowed into the South by Southwest crowd after allegedly trying to escape the police, who stopped him at a gas station near Interstate 35. Police suspected he was intoxicated and tried to stop him from leaving. Owens allegedly blasted through barricades set up by Austin police, made a wrong turns down one street, and eventually ended up on Red River Street, all the while driving at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour. Police finally tracked Owens down in a parking lot — after his car hit a taxi and was forced to stop — and used Tasers to subdue him.
Owens’s case will be presented to a grand jury by mid-June. Between now and then, he may face even more charges than the current ones. While it seems all but certain that he will be convicted, that is cold comfort for De’Andre Tatum’s loved ones, or the loved ones of the other three people who died.
I have been representing Texans injured in accidents for over 33 years. I only represent people who have been injured by accidents involving cars, trucks, 18 wheelers, bicycles and motorcycles — often hit by drivers who are DWI. If you want an experienced Board Certified Fort Worth personal injury attorney who will provide you with compassionate legal representation, contact my office today to schedule a free initial consultation.
This case angers me, as you can tell from my previous posts:
Austin DWI Driver Had Prior DUI, Long Criminal History
DWI at SXSW Kills 2, Injures 3 From FW and 20 Others