By August Pimentel,
Domestic News Writer
Thousands of spectators were watching a homecoming parade in Stillwater, Oklahoma for the Oklahoma State University on Saturday, October 24. A day of fun turned into a day of disaster when a black sedan broke through the barricade and smashed through the crowd. Four people were killed and 47 were treated for injuries.
Of the four fatalities, two, Marvin and Bonnie Stone, were longtime employees of the university—Mr. Stone was a professor of agriculture and Mrs. Stone was a researcher for the institution. The two other victims were Univeristy of Central Oklahoma student, Nikita Nakal, 23, and the two year-old son of sophomore student, Nicollete Strauch, Nash Lucas. Strauch is recovering from her injuries but is devastated by the loss of her son.
According to the Stillwater police, of the 47 people treated for injuries, 17 remained in the hospital for further treatment, four of whom were in critical condition. 11 of the 47 were under the age of 13, including a one year-old child. With families standing by waiting for news, the communities of OSU and Stillwater are organizing vigils and extending their arms to lost friends and family members.
As quoted by CNN, UCO president, Don Betz, wrote, “While our thoughts and prayers are with the Oklahoma State University community tonight following the tragic events during OSU’s homecoming parade this morning, it is with deep sadness that I ask you to extend those sentiments to the family and friends of one of our own students.”
After speaking about the tragic event which had occurred, OSU president, Burns Hargis, decided to continue with the homecoming football game, before which the OSU team bowed their heads in prayer on the field.
The driver, 25 year-old Adacia Chambers, was thought to be under the influence of alcohol, as indicated by her poor performance on a standard field sobriety test. According to her attorney, Tony Coleman, the officers did not find any other evidence to believe she was intoxicated. There are no official toxicology reports released as of yet. Coleman says she was not intoxicated—she was simply in a state of shock at the time of the test.
Coleman currently believes his client, who is being held on $1,000,000 bail for four counts of second-degree murder, to be under some kind of mental illness. He stated that Chambers had gone into work at Freddy’s Frozen Custard a few minutes before 9:00 AM that morning, and shortly after told her employer she needed to leave without specifying a reason, approximately an hour and a half before crashing into the parade. Those who saw her while at work described her behavior that morning as out of the ordinary. When Coleman questioned her about the event, she stated she had no memory of the event until after the crash when police officers pulled her from the vehicle.
Colemen claimed that she showed minimal response upon questioning.
News Channel 4, a local station in Stillwater, interviewed Nathan Ogelsby, a local EMT who was a first responder to Chambers. Ogelsby said he opened the door to her vehicle and asked what she was doing, to which Chambers responded that she was trying to kill herself. Ogelsby asked why, and Chambers responded, “To be free.”
Coleman has requested a mental health evaluation of Chambers, which is currently underway. Her next hearing is scheduled for November 13. The people of Stillwater and OSU are still deeply mourning the disaster.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 3rd print edition.
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