Police: Car plows into Lady Bird Lake; Cesar Chavez St. briefly closed


Car plows into Lady Bird Lake

Austin police briefly closed Cesar Chavez Street near Lamar Boulevard early Friday after a car plowed into Lady Bird Lake.

The car crashed into the lake around 4:20 a.m. City crews took a couple of hours to get the car out of the water before traffic was reopened in the area.

Police said the man who drove through the intersection and ended up in the lake was not injured.

— Mark D. Wilson, American-Statesman


Authorities: Shooter in homicide at large

The Travis County sheriff’s office is looking for a person who shot and killed a man Thursday night, near Wells Branch and North Austin.

Deputies responded to a 911 call around 5:30 p.m., and found the man dead in the 14000 block of Thermal Drive, between Howard Lane and Wells Branch Parkway, officials said.

The shooter ran away, the sheriff’s office said, but deputies are still looking for this person.

Authorities late Thursday were urging residents in the area to lock their doors and not open them to strangers.

— Katie Hall, American-Statesman


Police: Wrong-way driver cited for DWI

A 36-year-old woman was charged with driving while intoxicated (third or more), a felony, according to court records, after police say she drove the wrong way on Red River Street.

The driver, identified by police as Stefanie Marie Espinosa, was in the Travis County Jail on Friday with bail set at $20,000, jail records showed.

According to an arrest affidavit, around 1:50 a.m. on Thursday, just as bars along the busy Red River music district were preparing to let out on the first day of the South by Southwest Music Festival, an Austin police sergeant stationed at a barricade at 10th and Red River streets heard people yelling and saw a vehicle driving on the wrong side of the street on Red River. The vehicle rolled south through the intersection and began heading toward a sidewalk on the east side of Red River where people were walking.

Red River and 10th streets was the site of a fatal crash that killed four people during South by Southwest in 2014 when Rashad Owens drove through a road barricade while fleeing from police. Owens was convicted of capital murder in 2015.

No one was reported injured in Thursday’s crash.

Police later learned the Espinosa had taken the prescription drug Risperidone about 90 minutes before she crashed. She told police she was not supposed to drive while on the drug, the affidavit said. A preliminary blood test showed she had no alcohol in her system when she was arrested, the affidavit said.

— Philip Jankowski, American-Statesman

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