According to the report:
The suspect in the grisly wreck that killed four people and injured dozens more during the South by Southwest Music Festival now faces more charges. Rashad Owens, 21, now faces 20 counts of assault with a deadly weapon, adding to his previous charges of capital murder and aggravated assault with a motor vehicle.
- See more at: http://austin.twcnews.com/content/news/298422/sxsw-crash-suspect-faces-20-new-charges#sthash.vW7mhJSY.dpuf
In response to the tragedy, Austin Police chose to use massive amounts of manpower (as many as 100 officers) to man barricades for a much smaller event last weekend (70,000 people vs 200,000 for SXSW.) Overtime for 100 officers every time there is an event requiring street closings will certainly cost far more than effective and proven steel bollards or barriers will cost -- the City of Santa Monica can attest to that after the Farmer's Market tragedy that killed 10 and injured more than sixty in July 2003.
Here is news coverage about this increased police presence for special events:
AUSTIN (KXAN) — Track stars and their fans moved from Myers Stadium for the Texas Relays down to Sixth Street. As many as 70,000 people to are expected to enjoy the downtown nightlife.
But Austin police have made some changes this year to keep the area safe.
The department stationed more than 100 officers on Sixth Street on Friday, arriving by the bus load on Capital Metro buses.
After the crash the killed four people during South by Southwest earlier this month, APD is trying something different for the Texas Relays. Officers are parking their marked units at blocked off intersections along Sixth Street to make sure crowds know they are present.
“Outside the barricades, having the marked units will have more of a presence than just your standard reflective barricade,” said APD Sgt. Jeff Crawford.
The department has not made a decision on whether they will staff all special events this way moving forward. Some of the officers that are out patrolling will be on overtime to handle the larger than normal crowds.
“Some years we have had 70,000-80,000 people descend on downtown,” said Crawford.
(see full coverage courtesy of KXAN)
The SXSW tragedy will wind its way through the courts for years. Investigations into the crash and the Traffic Management Plan in place at the time of the incident will result in recommendations that will meet with resistance from various parts of the community. In the meantime, police overtime and heavy use of manpower will raise costs but increase public safety. The end result will be a new Traffic Management Plan that takes into account the NTSB recommendations made after the Santa Monica tragedy.
But I think in the end, Sarah Goodyear writing in Atlantic Cities said it best: "We're Shamefully Bad at Protecting Pedestrians at Events Like SXSW" (see her article HERE.)
But it didn't have to be this way.