Suspected drunk driver kills 4, injures dozens during parade

Posted at 1:34 PM, Oct 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-24 20:18:36-04

Crash scene (KFOR).

STILLWATER, Okla. (CNN) — Four people are dead after a car driven by a suspect drunk driver plowed through a crowd during a parade Saturday morning in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

A 2-year-old who died after being transported from Stillwater to OU Medical Center has brought the death toll to four, out Tribute affiliate KFOR reports.

Preliminary findings put the total of number of people injured at 39.

Eight were flown by “air ambulance” after suffering critical injuries, seven suffered “serious injuries” and seven others had less serious injuries, Kyle Gibbs of that city’s police department said at a press conference.

Police said Adacia Chambers, 25, who drove her car into the crowd has been arrested for allegedly driving under the influence. That woman is in a jail in Stillwater.

School officials confirm Chambers is not a student, according to KFOR.

According to a police statement, Chambers drove her 2014 Hyundai Elantra into an unmanned police motorcycle before careening into the crowd of spectators.

When asked by a reporter whether the 25-year-old Chambers was “obviously intoxicated,” Gibbs said, “Certainly probable cause for the arrest, yes sir.”

Gibbs said that Oklahoma state law mandates blood tests for any “serious fatality accident.” The results of those tests won’t be known for several days, he said.

The deadly crash occurred at 10:31 a.m. (11:31 ET), just hours before the school’s centerpiece homecoming event — a football game between the nationally ranked, undefeated OSU Cowboys and the University of Kansas — and only two blocks from the soon-to-be jam packed 50,000-person Boone Pickens Stadium.

The festive scene turned into one of horror, one the university president called a “horrible tragedy.”

“We are shocked and heartbroken by this horrible tragedy,” said President V. Burns Hargis. “The Oklahoma State University Homecoming parade is the most wholesome of events and to have it marred in such a way is incomprehensible.”

‘People flying in the air’

“I can’t describe it any more clearly than this: People flying in the air,” OSU graduate student Paul Sims said of the moment of impact.

Another witness, Geoff Haxton, said he was about 100 yards from the crash site.

“All there was was smoke and panic. Half the emergency personnel in the county were here,” Haxton said.” People were running. (My) first instinct was to get my kids away from the street.”

Two Stillwater Fire Department vehicles participating in the parade were among the scene’s first responders, according to Tom Bradley, the city’s fire chief.

Game to go on

After careful deliberation, officials decided to let the football game proceed, Hargis said.

“We’re going to play, and we’re going to remember the victims at the game, and we’re going to move forward,” Hargis said. “But we will remember what’s happened today.”

The incident happened about four hours before the OSU-Kansas University football game at Stillwater’s Boone Pickens Stadium.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said on Twitter that the state’s “thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the tragic events” at Oklahoma State.

Before the game, the OSU football team knelt in solemn prayer at the 25-yard line.

Fox Sports sportscaster Tim Brando described the pregame atmosphere as “the kind of somber feeling” that he’d never had before. But, he said, “there is a game to be played, and a football team that is undefeated.”

Kansas University commented on the incident through its athletic department Twitter account: “Our thoughts are with Oklahoma State and those involved in the tragic accident this morning.”