HOUSTON, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Two people were killed and 23 other were injured early Thursday when a suspected drunken driver fleeing police hurtled past barricades and plowed through revelers at a music festival in Austin, capital of the U.S. state of Texas, authorities said.
A police officer tried to pull over a man driving a silver Toyota sedan on an Austin highway for driving with intoxication check after midnight, but the man did not stop, local daily Austin American-Statesman reported.
He maneuvered out of a gas station, drove the wrong way on a one-way street and crashed through police-manned barricades before turning onto another crowded streets where the car hit multiple pedestrians, the report said.
The driver sped through two blocks of pedestrian traffic and stroke a moped carrying a man and a woman who were later pronounced dead at the scene, the report said. The driver attempted to flee on foot before a police officer shocked him with a stun gun and detained him into custody, it added.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo told media that two people were dead and 23 others injured in the incident, including five in critical conditions.
The tragedy could be even worse, Acevedo said, as the street where the car hit most people was full of festival-goers just minutes earlier, but officials had cleared the area because it is a fire lane.
Austin was on its first full day of hosting the South By Southwest festival, an annual music, film and interactive event that started in 1987 is scheduled to end on Sunday this year.
Hours after the tragic crash, local TV footage showed the street was still littered with shoes, clothing and other debris. Dried patches of blood could be seen.
Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell expressed his condolences. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims, as well as those being treated in area hospitals," Leffingwell said in a statement.
The police is investigating the incident. The suspect, whose identity has not been released, will be charged with two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle.