4 killed in Oklahoma State homecoming parade crash named
Source: USA Today
Jim Varney, Trevor Hughes and George Schroeder
October 25, 2015
Authorities on Sunday named three adults who were killed when a woman police say was driving while intoxicated plowed her sedan into a crowd attending the Oklahoma State University’s homecoming parade the previous day.
A 2-year-old boy was also killed and 47 people were wounded in the crash. The driver, Adacia Chambers, 25, was arrested and detained on suspicion of driving under the influence. Police are awaiting blood test results to determine if she was impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Stillwater named two of the deceased as local resident Bonnie Jean Stone and Marvin Lyle Stone, both 65. A third adult killed was Nikita Prabhakar Nakal, of Mumbai, India. She was a student at the University of Central Oklahoma, according to that school’s president, Don Betz.
A family member of the 2-year-old boy identified him on social media as Nash Lucas, the student newspaper The O’Colly reported.
“Our hearts are so heavy today,” Stillwater Mayor Gina Noble told USA TODAY on Saturday.
Five of the injured remain in critical condition. The homecoming game against Kansas was played as scheduled, players bowing their heads in prayer as the American flag fluttered at half-staff in Boone Pickens Stadium under orders from Gov. Mary Fallin, an Oklahoma State alumnus who attended the homecoming game. The university’s homecoming is a major celebration, drawing more than 80,000 alumni, fans and area residents downtown. A pep rally before the game was canceled, said Noble, who was the parade’s grand marshal.
“Our hearts and prayers go out with those who lost loved ones today, to those that were injured in the tragedy,” Fallin said during a halftime news conference.
Fallin noted other tragic occurrences, both in the state and with the Oklahoma State University community – including two plane crashes in 2001 and 2011, involving the men’s and women’s basketball programs, respectively.
“One thing I do know about Oklahoma people. They’re strong,” she said.. “They’re very compassionate. They believe in prayer. They believe in comforting people and helping during a time of crisis and need. We’ll get through this again. But certainly it’s a very painful experience for those of us here, and certainly for all Oklahomans.”
Paramedics and firefighters participating in the parade were able to assist the injured immediately, authorities said.
“The Cowboy family pulls together,” said university President Burns Hargis. “Unfortunately, we’ve had to do it before, and we’re going do it again.”
Oklahoma State community endures another senseless tragedy
Police Capt. Kyle Gibbs declined to discuss the evidence against Chambers and asked any witnesses with photos and videos to contact investigators.
Chambers’ father, Floyd Chambers of Oologah, told The Oklahoman newspaper he couldn’t believe his daughter was involved and said she was not an alcoholic. He described her as “timid” and said she had attended homecoming festivities Friday night with family, but her boyfriend told him she was home by 10 p.m.
“This is just not who she is. They’re going to paint her into a horrible person but this is not (her),” Floyd Chambers told the paper.
Noble said the town’s 50,000 residents are still in shock.
“We’ve never seen anything like this. We’re taking our time to make sure we get everything right,” she said. “We’re shocked. We are definitely subdued in mood and we’re still trying to understand.”
Emergency personnel respond after a vehicle crashed into a crowd of spectators during the Oklahoma State University homecoming parade in Stillwater, Okla. David Bitton, The News Press via AP
As the game played on just two blocks away, the intersection of Hall of Fame and Main streets remained blocked by law enforcement vehicles and yellow tape. The mangled silver Hyundai sedan remained where it had stopped, with its two front tires popped over the curb on the southwest corner of the intersection. Occasional cheers could be heard from the stadium, but the crash scene was quiet. Only a few people watched as the dead were loaded onto stretchers, then into a black van, which then drove away.
The car was not part of the parade, according to police. Gibbs said Chambers drove her Elantra through several barriers and hit a parked police motorcycle before careening into the crowd.
Chambers has not yet been booked into the Payne County Jail; authorities there said she was in a separate detox unit.
Oklahoma State’s homecoming famously attracts huge crowds to Stillwater each year. Before thousands of cheering orange-clad fans, the undefeated Cowboys beat winless Kansas 58-10.
“”That’s what we are: Stillwater Strong,” Noble said. “We will get through this together and figure out how to help those who need the help.”