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Fort Worth Teen Dies Following SXSW Crash In Austin

A Fort Worth teenager who was injured when a car plowed into a crowd at the South by Southwest festival in Austin has died.

De'Andre Tatum, 18, was a 2013 Trimble Tech High School graduate. He's the fourth person to die in the SXSW crash.

The incident happened outside a club on Red River Street in downtown Austin when the driver, Rashad Charjuan Owens, 21, crashed through a police barricade and sped down a street filled with SXSW attendees. More than 20 people were injured. Owens eventually came to a stop after striking a vehicle. He tried to flee on foot, but police used a Taser to subdue him. Owens was charged with capital murder and aggravated assault with a motor vehicle and is in jail. Bail was set at $3 million.

Jamie West, 27, of Austin and Dutchman Steven Craenmehr, 35, were killed at the scene. Sandy Le, 26, died of her injuries March 17.
Tatum, called Dre, was at SXSW with his girlfriend, Curtisha Davis, a Trimble Tech cheerleader who was injured in the crash.

Friends of Tatum described him as a prankster, a young man who loved to make people laugh.

Brandon Holbert is a senior at Trimble Tech. He and Dre, as close friends called him, used to work out together.

“When we go into the gym and play basketball, he was goofy, funny, talking to teachers -- all the monitors, always with respect, never was disrespectful,” Holbert said.

At Trimble Tech Thursday, students started getting text messages about Tatum’s death before teachers got the news in a mass email. Antonio Hinojosa, a freshman, says his gym coach announced the sad news, and asked if anyone wanted to see a counselor. He didn’t, but others went. 

“My friend, she said that there was a guy on the stairwell, he was just like crying, remembering him,” Hinojosa said. “Makes you feel like, man, I have to be more safe and watch what I do. I thought about his family, and then like, they said he had a girlfriend, and I thought about her.”

Tatum’s girlfriend, Curtisha Davis, a senior at Trimble, was among the many injured in Austin after a suspected drunk driver crashed into a crowd. She had broken bones, but is back in Fort Worth recovering. 

“She’s having a hard time with it, everybody’s taking it really hard,” said Howard Mclean, whose daughter, Chassity, is best friends with Curtisha Davis.

“Me and my wife took my daughter to Austin, to see [Davis and Tatum]. It was very very tough and emotional,but we felt a lot better by her being able to be close to her friend and be there with him.”

He watched Tatum fighting for his life.

“I did, I saw him. And you know -- they were just monitoring him to see where he was, just having him comfortable as possible, and we were just all praying for the best,” Mclean sad.

Mclean says his daughter has been with her best friend every day, and is consoling and comforting her. 

A few days ago, on Davis’ Twitter account, she tweeted out: “Missing my love bug @dretatum. But hours later, she wrote: Rest in Peace my love, I’m really going through it.”

It's been a tough spring for Trimble Tech students. Just before spring break, a student was fatally stabbed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.