Payne County District Attorney Laura Thomas formally filed charges Wednesday against the woman accused of crashing her car into a crowd during Oklahoma State University’s homecoming parade nearly two weeks ago. Four people died and more than 40 others were injured.
Stillwater resident Adacia Chambers faces four counts of second-degree murder, and 46 counts of felony assault. She’s been held in the Payne County Jail on $1 million bond.
Thomas and Assistant DA William Pierce also requested Chambers undergo a competency evaluation carried out by the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. A judge has also ordered a psychological evaluation.
— Joe Henke (@JoeHenke) November 4, 2015
The Associated Press reports that under Oklahoma law, second-degree murder charges are warranted when a person’s actions are “imminently dangerous to another person,” but not necessarily premeditated. Chambers reportedly told officers booking her into the Stillwater jail she was suicidal at the time of the collision, but wasn’t by the the time she arrived at the police station.
Nikita Nakal, Marvin Stone, and his wife Bonnie Stone all died the morning of October 24. A fourth victim, two-year-old Nash Lucas, later died at the OU Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City.
Chambers’ defense attorney Tony Coleman met with her that evening, and told reporters over the next few days he believed his client suffered from mental health issues. Her family also said Chambers spent time in mental health facilities a few years before she moved to Stillwater.
If the court orders a competency evaluation, it’ll be to determine whether Chambers understands the seriousness of the charges, and whether she has the capacity to consult with her attorney and help prepare her defense. A similar hearing took place last month leading up to the trial of Alton Nolen, who faces first-degree murder charges in the beheading death of Colleen Hufford at a food distribution warehouse in Moore last year.
Thomas also announced Tuesday she’s set up a hotline for victims and certain eyewitnesses to the crash. The DA’s office has had problems locating contact information for people affected by the crash.
Thomas says some victims and eyewitnesses may be eligible for financial assistance and notification of upcoming court hearings.
That number is (405) 338-6023.
Stillwater Residents Gather For Community-Wide Memorial
— Oklahoma State Univ. (@okstate) November 4, 2015
Survivors, first responders, and others affected by the homecoming tragedy gathered in Stillwater Tuesday evening during a community memorial service at Gallagher-Iba Arena on the OSU campus.
The Oklahoma Public Media Exchange’s Ryan LaCroix reports OSU president Burns Hargis urged attendees to focus on the future as a way to honor the victims.
"Our response must be to honor their lives with our lives. This tragedy can be a catalyst for us to embrace each other, to love each other more, to encourage the best in us all."
Stillwater Mayor Gina Noble says the tragedy reminds us all to embrace the present.
"The past ten days has reminded us to live and love in the moment, because there's no guarantee that our lives will be the same tomorrow."
Oklahoma State University has established an online memorial to remember the victims and share condolences.
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