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Two people have been killed and as many as 23 injured after a car hit a crowd of people outside a nightclub in downtown Austin and its suspected driver fled on foot, officials say.

The incident took place outside the Mohawk bar early Thursday morning on Red River and 10 streets in downtown Austin.

The news was first reported by the Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Service Public Information Office.

Officials said that of the 23 people who have been taken to hospital, five are in a critical condition.

Police have confirmed that the driver of the vehicle is in custody.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said officers initially tried to pull over the driver at a gas station on the Interstate 35 service road.

The driver fled the wrong way down Ninth Street, which is a one-way street, and turned onto Red River, hitting pedestrians at a "high rate of speed."

Acevedo said the driver hit a man and a woman on a moped, a taxi and a van before stopping the vehicle and fleeing on foot. The driver was eventually tased and taken into custody. The two people on the moped were killed.

"Austin Police Department is investigating this matter as allegedly involving drunk driving. If this is true, this fact angers me. Drunk driving is never acceptable, and can lead to deadly consequences," Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell said in a statement early Thursday.

Austin is playing host to the annual South by Southwest festival, which brings thousands of people to the city for its program of films, music and an interactive technology.

Contributing: KVUE in Austin.

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