SXSW crash lawsuit targets city of Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A lawyer in the Dallas area says he is looking to work with other lawyers, as he prepares a civil lawsuit for victims of the South by Southwest crash.

“We have put the [City of Austin] on notice, and we have put South by Southwest on notice that we are representing certain victims of this tragedy,” said Keith R. Herbert.

Herbert is representing Curtisha Davis from Fort Worth, who was injured in the crash, and the family and estate of her boyfriend, DeAndre Tatum, 18, who died after the crash.

“[The families] are having, as anyone can imagine — and I’m sure all the victims are having — a very difficult time,” said Herbert. “I can tell you Tatum was 18, and he and Curtisha were unofficially engaged. They were looking forward to getting married. The family was looking forward to them having children in the coming times and having family get-togethers and holidays.”

Herbert says he’s in the middle of investigating what went wrong during South by Southwest and why. He is also reaching out to other attorneys to help in the process.

“We all want to find out the same information and it would make sense to form a united group to try to do this,” said Herbert.

Herbert has not filed the lawsuit yet and did not have a specific time frame for when he may file any paperwork.

“I feel that the city that issued permits may have done so with inadequate plan presented to them. The people who came up with the plans, we believe came up with an inadequate plan. And the festival promoter who presented the festival, did so, with an inadequate plan,” said Herbert.

KXAN Reporter Kevin Schwaller: “I am assuming there will be people who say ‘this was sort of a crazy accident’ why are you going after the city or other sorts of planners’?”

Herbert: Good question. We feel that this was possibly an accident waiting to happen. Because when you put a combination of all-night parties, with all-night alcohol with whatever else goes on, night after night, when reportedly there are 200,000-300,000 people, patrons, attending this festival — and you close off streets, yet in the proximity there are cars driving right around the area, it can basically be guaranteed that there will be drunk drivers or bad driver in the area,” said Herbert. “And we believe that there were clearly inadequate measures taken in the year 2014.”

A spokesperson for South by Southwest told KXAN News it did not want to speculate about any future action concerning the victims of Rashad Owens.

KXAN News also contacted the City of Austin. A spokesperson said the city was looking into the matter, but we did not hear back.

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