Clifford Brown

The preliminary hearing for Rashad Owens, who drove through a barrier and killed four people at the South By Southwest festival last March, was rescheduled for Nov. 3, according to Judge Clifford Brown of the 147th Travis County Criminal District Court. 

Owens and his attorney failed to appear at the scheduled hearing at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center on Monday, so the date was rescheduled. This is the fifth time court dates for Owens have been pushed back since he was arrested in March. 

Owens was charged with capital murder after driving while drunk through a barrier on Red River Street during the South By Southwest festival in March, killing four people and injuring 20 others. 

Owens was originally scheduled to appear in court April 9 before his trial, but a number of no-shows and requests by his attorney, Rickey Jones, have pushed the pretrial hearing back to 9 a.m. on Nov. 3.

The charges against Owens include capital murder, four counts of felony murder and 24 counts of aggravated assault. Bond was set at $5.5 million.

Police block off the roads after the SXSW car accident on March 13. After the accident, service organizations have been left to decide how to distribute more than $180,000 in funds raised to assist victims and their families.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

Rashad Charjuan Owens, the driver indicted in the South By Southwest crash in March, made his first public appearance since his arrest before the 147th District Court Judge Clifford Brown during a Wednesday pretrial.

Brown reset Owens’ next court appearance for July 8. Members of Owens’ family attending the Wednesday court appearance declined to comment.

In May, a Travis County grand jury indicted Owens on one count of capital murder, four counts of felony murder and 24 counts of aggravated assault, according to the district clerk’s office.

Police have previously confirmed Owens was driving while intoxicated as he fled police and drove a stolen car through a crowd of people on Red River Street on March 13. Capital murder charges were filed after Jamie West, 27, and Steven Craenmehr, 35, died at the scene. In the two weeks after the crash, Deandre Tatum, 18, and Sandy Le, 26, died.

Since his arrest, Owens has been in Travis County Jail with bail set at $5.5 million.

After the crash, Austin City Council approved a full-scale review of SXSW on March 27. As part of the review, the city has reached out to the community for feedback on how to improve the safety and security of the two-week festival.

A post-event survey conducted by the Austin Center for Events revealed that 49 percent of the 850 respondents attended SXSW events unregistered. Fifty-seven percent of the respondents also voted against the city working alongside the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to limit the amount of hours that alcohol is served during SXSW events.

Responses to the 19 questions asked by the survey concluded that traffic and transportation remains a top priority for city events.

The court hearing for the man accused of injuring Kylie Doniak, communications senior and UT soccer player, was postponed for May 1 by Judge Clifford Brown on Wednesday.

The hearing was postponed in order to allow parties more time to review the case brought against Nicholas Colunga by the Travis County District Attorney, said Billy Pannel, the bailiff of the 147th District Court, which is overseen by Judge Brown. Pannell said the next set court date is May 1, although the hearing will not necessarily take place then — especially if the hearing is postponed once again.

Colunga allegedly collided with Doniak and two other pedestrians after running a red light at the intersection of Eighth Street and San Jacinto Boulevard February 3. He was taken into police custody that night after being pursued and apprehended by a witness and has remained in jail since then. Robert Mueller, Colunga’s attorney, represented him in court yesterday although Colunga did not appear. Mueller received permission from Judge Brown to postpone the hearing. Mueller could not be reached for comment.

Colunga is being accused of four separate offenses including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and failure to stop and render aid. He also had a previous count against him for parole violation, according to court documents.

Doniak is currently undergoing rehab at a hospital in California, according to an update posted by her sister on Doniak’s CaringBridge web page. Doniak has been recovering, although she still struggles with short term memory problems and recently had a feeding tube removed.

“Keep praying for us and Kylie because your prayers are evident every single day,” her sister, Alyssa Doniak, wrote on the blog. “We are continuously thanking God and all of our friends and family because it has only been 10 weeks (such a short amount of time in the big picture) and Kylie is already showing her personality.”