Tragedy at Oklahoma State
Four die and dozens are hurt during parade at Oklahoma State
Four dead, 34 injured after a car drives into homecoming crowd.
STILLWATER, OKLA. okla. — A car driven by a woman suspected of driving under the influence plowed into a crowd Saturday during Oklahoma State University’s homecoming parade, killing four people — including a toddler — and injuring dozens after a collision that sent some spectators flying through the air.
Stillwater police Capt. Kyle Gibbs said the woman’s Hyundai Elantra struck the unoccupied motorcycle of an officer who was working security at the parade, then went into the crowd. She was taken into custody, and Gibbs said investigators were awaiting the results of blood tests to determine whether she was impaired by drugs or alcohol.
OU Medical Center and the Children’s Hospital said in a statement Saturday night that a 2-year-old was the fourth person to die from injuries suffered in the morning crash. Five children and three adults remained hospitalized, and their conditions ranged from good to critical, officials said.
Gibbs said earlier that 34 people were hospitalized, including eight who were listed in critical condition. Police said that Adacia Chambers, 25, of Stillwater, was arrested on the DUI charge.
“We treat these like we would any homicide investigation,” Gibbs said. “It will probably take several days to get additional information as to the cause of the accident.” Chambers’s father, Floyd Chambers of Oologah, told Oklahoma City’s Oklahoman newspaper that he could not believe that his daughter was involved, and he insisted that she was not an alcoholic. He described his daughter as “timid” and said she had attended homecoming festivities Friday night with family, but that her boyfriend had told him that 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 newspaper.
A woman who answered a call to a phone number listed under Floyd Chambers’s name said no one was available to talk.
Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis said there had been discussion about canceling the homecoming football game Saturday afternoon against the University of Kansas, but the contest was played as scheduled. The victims were remembered with a moment of silence before kickoff, and most of the Oklahoma State players knelt in prayer on the sideline.
Even as the game began, some of the bodies remained at the scene of the crash, less than three blocks from the stadium. National Guard troops kept watch as officials with the Red Cross and state medical examiner’s office continued their work.
Hundreds of fans wearing Oklahoma State’s colors — orange and black — walked past the crash site as they headed to the football game. Some lingered to look at the aftermath: water bottles, blankets, lawn chairs and other items strewn around the intersection. A gray car with a smashed side and shattered windshield remained at the scene, as did a crumpled motorcycle.
Konda Walker of Anchorage told the Stillwater News Press that some people initially thought that the crash was part of the show. “People were flying 30 feet into the air like rag dolls,” Walker said.
The university posted on Twitter: “Oklahoma State University is saddened by the tragic parade incident earlier this morning. Our thoughts & prayers are with those affected.”
“People were flying 30 feet into the air like rag dolls.”
Konda Walker, an Anchorage resident who attended the parade
A police motorcycle rests in Stillwater, Okla., after a car driven by a woman suspected of drunken driving plowed into the crowd. For a photo gallery, go to wapo.st/oklahoma-crash.