Small vigil held in Austin for Dutchman killed in SXSW tragedy



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Posted on March 13, 2014 at 11:16 PM

AUSTIN -- When the sun started to peek over Red River Street Thursday morning, all you could see were squad cars.

The police presence and debris in the road were signs of what happened hours earlier. It was chaos when a drunk driver sped into a crowd. Many were hurt. Two were killed.

One from Austin; the other, a visitor.

“We do have a person who was struck at 11th and Red River who was a cyclist,” said Austin’s Chief of Police Art Acevedo.

The man on the bike was 35-year-old Steven Craenmehr, a Dutchman, who came to South by Southwest to match up bands with brands. His company, MassiveMusic, confirmed his death in a simple note on its website on Thursday. Police say he died at the scene.

Craenmer’s family may be overseas, but there is a group of 400 from the Netherlands in Texas for the music festival. Many knew him, others didn’t, but it doesn’t matter for the small group who gathered together Thursday night for a vigil.

“I grabbed a cab and at the same time, I heard all the sirens and the helicopters in the air, and we were just two blocks away,” said Syb Groenevele.

They still feel the pain of his loss. So a few came to the evening vigil in downtown Austin to honor Steven.

He was out that night, enjoying Austin, just like they were. A fellow Dutchman.

“I got all kinds of messages like, 'Are you okay?' There was a lot of confusion, but it’s all over the news in Europe,” said Jeroen Van Erp.

They now feel lucky they’ll be able to return home.

“There were quite a lot of Dutch people just around the corner who saw the consequences of the accident, and of course, they felt really terrible,” Groenevele said.