AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s hard not to notice the brace on 19-year-old Mason Endres right leg, a visible reminder of the South By Southwest crash that almost cost the teen her life last year.
“I wake up every morning and I’m pretty thankful to be here, let alone have two legs that work for the most part,” said Endres who has worked through physical therapy after suffering a broken nose, neck, arm, femur, severed artery and torn ligaments in her knees. “I am pretty lucky to even have two legs or to be walking or just being alive in general, I’m pretty lucky.”
She and her friends were waiting for the rapper Tyler the Creator at Mowhawk, a popular music venue at Red River and 10th Street. Endres said the event was supposed to be for people 18 and up, but things at the last minute changed, leaving her and others on the street waiting to meet the artist.
“I think I ended up around the white line I’m pretty sure,” said Endres as she tries to remember where she landed in the street after the car hit her. She said she has to rely on pictures and video of the the aftermath because she was knocked unconscious.
Rashad Owens, the man accused of killing four people and injuring Mason and several others, is still in a Travis County jail cell as his case slowly moves through the court system. Two months ago Owens appeared in court for a pre-trial hearing. At that hearing the judge said he would hold hearings every 45 days to help keep the case on schedule. Owens next court date is scheduled for April 6 and the judge hopes it will go to trial this November. Owens faces dozens of charges, including capital murder.
Several victims and their families have also filed wrongful death lawsuits against SXSW Holdings INC, and SXSW LLC, claiming the crash could have been prevented.
Endres said she and her family do not plan on filing any lawsuits.
“From day one I was like we’re not doing anything against SXSW or Austin, it was one guy’s fault and it’s going to stay that way,” said Endres. “I definitely understand why (other victims and families) are doing this. If I wasn’t here right now my parents would be doing the exact same thing, but I don’t think South By or Austin should be held responsible by any means, that’s just me.”
When it comes to Owens, the 19-year-old said she has mixed emotions about the man accused of killing and injuring SXSW-goers.
“I’m kind of indifferent at this point. (Owens) did his damage and after that point it was my job to get over it and move one and work on myself, my personal health and everything,” said Endres.
Endres plans on attending SXSW events — ones that are age appropriate — next week and said she does not want to dwell on the past and wants to enjoy her love of the festival. She is attending the University of Texas and studying communications, but had to delay her freshman year because of the crash and recovering from her injuries.
The deadly crash prompted city, police, and SXSW officials to revisit safety measures as more than 150,000 roam the streets during the festival. Earlier this week police outlined their safety plan for this year which includes more officers and water-filled barricades and patrol cars to safeguard pedestrians from traffic.