SXSW crash suspect Rashad Owens appears in court

AUSTIN (KXAN) – The man accused in the deadly crash during South by Southwest made his first court appearance Wednesday.

Rashad Owens is charged with one count of capital murder, four counts of murder while evading in a vehicle and 24 counts of aggravated assault.

He was brought into the courtroom wearing the standard jail stripe uniform and briefly spoke with the judge before leaving the courtroom.

The judge set a July 8th court date.

Austin Police say Owens was behind the wheel of the car that killed four people and hurt 22 others. They say he was trying to avoid being pulled over at the time.

Officers on DUI patrol originally tried to stop Owens because the car he was driving did not have its headlights on. Owens told officers he saw the lights in his mirror and got scared because he had warrants out for his arrest and did not want to go to jail, the document said. Owens said he had a kidnapping warrant and told police he was in a custody battle over his daughter, the warrant said.

This run in with the law is not his first. In 2011, Owens spent 10 days in jail after pleading guilty to being intoxicated after fleeing the scene of a collision in Alaska.

Attorney Keith R. Herbert also confirms to KXAN News that he is working to contact attorneys of South by Southwest crash victims, “to form a united front” for a civil lawsuit.

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