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Gulf Coast Native is Third Person to Die at SXSW Festival

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Updated: 3/17/2014 10:49 pm
Monday, a Pass Christian native is the third person to have died after being struck by a suspected drunken driver last week during the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. Last Thursday, Sandy Le was in a crowd outside an Austin club when a drunk driver smashed his car through a street barricade and accelerated into the group of festival-goers. She had been on life support since incident. Monday morning, Le died. Stuart Gates, Le’s brother-in-law, says, “Just brilliant, loved life, just awesomely quirky as I describe her and not to sound cliché, but would just light up the room when she came in, someone you always looked forward to seeing on visits, very compassionate. One of those that in 26 years probably got more out of life than any of us will.”

Two others have also died from the crash and more than 20 others were injured. Rashad Owens, 21, has been charged with capital murder and aggravated assault with a motor vehicle in the crash. He's accused of driving drunk and fleeing from police, then intentionally driving into the festival-goers. For the family, it’s almost too much to bear. Gates also says, “It’s tough. It’s tough for all of us. It’s heartbreaking for me but I can imagine that’s magnified by 30 or 40 what they’re going through, and parents having to bury a daughter after they’ve had a rough go. They lost their house in Katrina, the oil spill, they’re shrimpers, just kind of punched their livelihood in the gut. They lost an uncle out to sea in July, never found, and then of course this incident, so yeah, they could use a break.”

There has been an outpouring of support for Le's family through social media. An online fund has been set up to raise money for Le's medical and funeral costs. If you would like to make a donation, go to Le's funeral is scheduled for this weekend on the Gulf Coast.

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