Many Oklahoma parade crash victims were children, police say – Reuters
STILLWATER, Okla. Eleven of the nearly four dozen people injured when a car careened into a crowd watching an Oklahoma State University homecoming parade this weekend were children, police said on Sunday, in addition to a toddler who died of his injuries.
In total, four people were killed when a gray Hyundai Elantra with a suspected drunk driver plowed into the throng in Stillwater, some 80 miles (130 km) northeast of Oklahoma City.
The driver, identified as 25-year-old Adacia Avery Chambers of Stillwater, is likely to make her initial appearance in Payne County District Court on Monday, local police said in a statement.
Three adults – identified in the police statement as Nakita Prabhakar, 23, of Edmond, Oklahoma; Bonnie Jean Stone, 65; and Marvin Lyle Stone, 65, both of Stillwater – were pronounced dead at the scene. A two-year-old boy, who was not identified, died later on Saturday.
Prabhakar, originally of Mumbai, India, was a graduate business student at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, the school said in a statement that gave her name as Nikita Nakal. The university could not be reached immediately to clarify the discrepancy.
Stone was a professor of agricultural engineering at OSU, according to a statement on the school’s website. He retired in 2006 and founded the Marvin and Bonnie Stone Endowed Scholarship Fund with his wife the following year.
Authorities also confirmed the death of a 2-year-old boy, whom family members identified as Nash Lucas, according to KOTV, a local television station.
Witnesses told of bodies being flung dozens of feet into the air as the car barreled into the festive throng at the intersection of Main Street and Hall of Fame Avenue to watch an annual parade before an OSU football game.
Chambers was taken into custody on suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, said Captain Kyle Gibbs of the Stillwater Police. Police are awaiting results of a blood test administered to the suspect after the crash.
Chambers worked at Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers in Stillwater, the restaurant said on Sunday.
“We are deeply saddened by this terrible tragedy and our Stillwater franchise restaurant is cooperating fully with law enforcement officials,” it said in a statement.
Floyd Chambers, 47, the suspect’s father, told The Oklahoman newspaper his daughter lived with her boyfriend in Stillwater. He described her as timid and not an alcoholic.
“They’re going to paint her into a horrible person but this is not (her),” he said.
Police also listed the names and ages of the 36 adults injured in the incident, and said the 11 injured children ranged in age from 1 to 13, but withheld their names.
Of the 47 people hurt, five adults were listed in critical condition and four children were described as “fair.” Among the rest of the victims, eight remained hospitalized and the others were treated and released.
Authorities have not released any more information about Chambers, except that she lived in Stillwater. Gibbs said she did not appear to be an OSU student.
Hours after the crash, the car was still resting, crumpled, against a lamppost on Main street, the intersection littered with clothes, blankets, lawn chairs and water bottles belonging to the victims. Streets were blocked off and secured by members of the National Guard.Despite the accident, Oklahoma State University decided against canceling the football game. Some 25,000 students attend the university.
(Additional reporting by Laila Kearney in New York; writing by Frank McGurty; editing by Clelia Oziel)