Four people, including a toddler, were killed and 44 others injured when a woman police say was driving drunk plowed her sedan into a crowd attending the Oklahoma State University’s Sea of Orange homecoming parade Saturday morning.
The driver, Adacia Chambers, 25, was arrested and detained on suspicion of driving under the influence, Stillwater police Capt. Kyle Gibbs said. Police didn’t release the identities of the four killed in the crash, which happened around 10:30 a.m. ET. The Oklahoma University Medical Center said one of the victims was a 2-year-old boy who died at the hospital early Saturday evening.
“Our hearts are so heavy today,” Stillwater Mayor Gina Noble told USA TODAY.
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 cancelled, 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 press conference.
Noting other tragic occurrences, both in the state of Oklahoma 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 — Fallin added: “One thing I do know about Oklahoma people. They’re strong. 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.”
Gibbs declined to discuss the evidence against Chambers and asked any witnesses with photos and videos to contact investigators.
Noble said police are still identifying the dead, and wounded, and 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.”
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.”
Error: No connected account.
Please go to the Instagram Feed settings page to connect an account.