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Third person dies after SXSW collisions

By CNN Staff
updated 3:53 PM EDT, Mon March 17, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sandy Thuy Le, 26, has died of injuries suffered when a car plowed into crowds last week
  • Le's family says she was a "free spirit"
  • Authorities say Rashad Charjuan Owens drove into people and vehicles
  • 23 people were initially hospitalized, some with multiple internal injuries

(CNN) -- A third person has died as a result of last week's incident in which a driver plowed into people at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, police said Monday.

Austin Police spokeswoman Veneza Bremner identified her as Sandy Thuy Le, 26.

A family spokesperson said Le's family was by her side at the hospital in Austin when she died Monday morning.

Stuart Gates, Le's brother-in-law, described her as a "free spirit" -- quirky, fun and always smiling.

According to Gates, Le's family lives in Pass Christian, Mississippi, and her funeral will be held in her home state in the next few days. Gates also said Le's family has been through a lot in recent years, first losing their home in Hurricane Katrina, then their shrimping business was financially hurt by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

Authorities said Rashad Charjuan Owens drove into people and vehicles at the festival while he was intoxicated early Thursday. Owens, 21, was charged last week with two counts of capital murder.

Police said Owens drove into the crowds after refusing to stop for an officer who tried to pull him over.

Besides the first two people who died, 23 people were initially hospitalized, some with multiple internal injuries. Most of the victims are in their 20s, said Dr. Christopher Ziebell, medical director at the University Medical Center Brackenridge.

A Travis County grand jury will determine whether Owens will face any more charges because of the third death, Bremner said.

CNN's John Branch, Jason Hanna and Justin Lear contributed to this report.

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