AUSTIN (KXAN) — Greg Cerna and two of his friends were headed to a show at Mohawk early Thursday morning when a car plowed in to them on Red River Street.
“I’m kind of in shock that, like, all this happened,” Cerna said just hours after leaving the hospital Friday. “I remember a lot of commotion and a lot of loud noise and I remember lots of sirens.”
Cerna, 19, and a University of Texas sophomore, has no memory of the moment the car hit him near 9th Street and Red River.
“The next thing I remember is waking up in the hospital in incredible pain,” Cerna said. “I heard that two people had died which is just awful. I feel like, A, so lucky, and B, so horrible that had to happen to those people.”
Witnesses said Cerna took the brunt of the impact from the car, driven by Rashad Owens, who had a blood alcohol level of .114, almost twice the legal limit.
“I don’t want to condemn him,” Cerna said about Owens. “I mean it was a terrible thing what he did, but I don’t know his side of the story.”
Cerna was knocked in the air and thrown to the ground where he hit his head and sustained a concussion. He has nine staples in his scalp and several cuts, scrapes and bruises all over his body.
“On one hand I wish I remembered more of it, but on the other hand I’m glad I don’t because its kind of insulated me from like the really bad parts,” said Cerna, whose family drove to Austin from Houston when they learned he was one of the 23 victims in the crash on the street where a crowd had gathered for a South by Southwest show.
Cerna had been a SXSW volunteer earlier in the week and had just started to enjoy the festival with his friends as a spectator when the crash happened.
“On one hand it’s really sad and terrible that this kind of thing happened,” he said. “But on the other hand it’s like really awesome to see all the outpouring of support by the community.”
Austin police have charged Owens with capital murder and have said he will face additional charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for each of the injured victims.