Wells Dunbar, KUT News | KERA News

Wells Dunbar, KUT News

As  online editor for KUT News, Wells Dunbar covers news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond. Before joining the KUT family, Wells served as staff writer and news blog editor at The Austin Chronicle, and covered the Texas Legislature for Gallery Watch. Hailing from El Paso, Wells is a longtime Austin resident whose interests include technology and social media, film and music, and spending quality time with his wife and cat.

Questions raised by this year's South by Southwest festival and conference aren't restricted to think pieces: The Austin City Council is now asking for "a full post-event evaluation" of the ever-growing event. The findings could result in changes to the way Austin deals with safety, crowds, permits, and even alcohol during SXSW and other events. 

Coming off its 27th year, the SXSW event itself generated as many headlines as its performers and conference breakouts. 

A patient injured in last week's car collision with South by Southwest crowds has died. 

Sandy Thuy Le, 26, died this morning at University Medical Center BrackenridgeShe was an Austin resident, according to social media.

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Summary: An Austin woman and a male visitor from the Netherlands are dead after a car plowed through South by Southwest crowds in Downtown Austin early this morning. The collisions took place along Red River Street near The Mohawk, a popular SXSW venue. Nearly two dozen were injured. 
 

Austin Police have a suspect in custody, 21 year-old Rashad Charjuan Owens. He's been charged with two counts of capital murder.

The Austin victim is 27-year-old Jamie Ranae West, according to several news reports, including one from the Austin American-Statesman.  

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters Thursday morning that the incident started as a traffic stop (part of police efforts to crack down on drunk drivers) at the Shell Gas station at Ninth Street and the Interstate 35 frontage road. Chief Acevedo says the driver drove into the gas station parking lot, but then sped off and started driving the wrong way down Ninth Street.

APD pursued the driver, who then tried to strike one officer working barricade duty, and continued speeding onto Red River. Acevedo says the driver hit multiple pedestrians on the street, killing two on vehicles: an Austin female that was a passenger on a moped, and  a male visitor from the Netherlands who was killed on his bicycle. (Initial police reports said both passengers on the moped were killed.)

Details surrounding the elementary school shooting in Newton, Connecticut are still unfolding. The Associated Press cites a police source reporting 27 dead, including 18 children. You can follow updates in a live blog from NPR, and get real time coverage from Google News.

Elected officials in Texas are beginning to issue statements about the shooting. KUT News has compiled them below; we will update this post as more come in.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry:

“The horrific event that transpired at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut is as profoundly disturbing as it is impossible to fully understand. The fact that so many victims were children weighs heavily upon the hearts and souls of each Texan and every American. Anita and I send our personal condolences to everyone touched by this senseless tragedy, pray for the quick healing of those injured, and extend our hopes that time will help ease the suffering of those who lost loved ones.”

And now for something completely different: KUT News’ pals at StateImpact Texas point to reports that a Nacogdoches veterinarian claims to have sequenced Bigfoot’s DNA.

Melba Ketchum says she’s plotted the genetic makeup of the elusive cryptid via DNA from hair, blood and tissue samples. (Maybe not so surprisingly, many folks still have questions.)

StateImpact Texas also reminds us that, should you come across an ornery Yeti, yes, it is legal to kill it in Texas. “Bigfoot would be a non-protected wild animal,” Texas Parks and Wildlife’s L. David Sinclair told StateImpact Texas earlier this year.