At 10:31 this morning, three people were killed after a car collided into barricades and ran into a crowd of people at the end of the Oklahoma State University homecoming parade in Stillwater, Okla., one of the university’s largest events of the year.
“It’s one of my favorite things to do in a calendar year; to take my kids to the OSU parade,” said Geoff Haxton, OSU alumnus and ORU radio host for men’s basketball and baseball in an interview with the “Oracle.” “It was a normal day and it was great. There was a huge crowd.”
Haxton said he had returned from the bathroom with his son when there was a stirring among the crowd.
“I was about a hundred yards from it and didn’t hear it,” said Haxton. “You just sensed there was something not right, so I looked to my north and I saw panic and smoke. This is the area of the parade route where there are the most people.”
Emergency responders who were on hand at the parade were on the scene within 30 seconds.
“There were so many people though, that it took a good two to three minutes to find out what had happened. But because the responders were there so fast it calmed the panic down and those guys cleared the people out and went to work on all the people who were hurt,” Haxton said.
He described the responders as “hard working people doing their jobs during a disastrous time.”
According to Stillwater police, three people died, 22 were injured and eight are in critical condition. The names of the deceased have not been released.
The driver was Adacia Chambers, a 25-year-old Stillwater resident. She was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, but police are now treating the accident as a homicide investigation. Chambers was not an OSU student.
The university tweeted, “Oklahoma State is saddened by the tragic parade incident earlier this morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected.”
ORU tweeted “our prayers are with our neighbors in Stillwater. Please join us in prayer for God’s peace and comfort during this time.” Other universities have tweeted messages of support.
Flags are at half-staff in Stillwater and a moment of silence was held at the T. Boone Pickens stadium in honor of the victims before the OSU football team kicked-off play against the Kansas Jayhawks.
Update (7:00 p.m.): According to the OU Medical Center, a two-year-old became the fourth casualty of the accident and according to the Associated Press, 34 have been injured.
Update (11:00 p.m.): Two of the four victims’ names have been released. The first was University of Central Oklahoma student Nikita Nakal, according to an official statement by president Don Betz. The second was two-year-old Nash Lucas, according to News on 6.
Update (Oct. 25, 11:05 a.m.): The Stillwater police department released the names of the final two victims. One was Bonnie Jean Stone, 65, coordinator of the university’s Institutional Research and Information Management department, and her husband 65-year-old Lyle Stone, a professor emeritus of the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering department. The number of injuries has risen to 47. Twelve were minors and 10 were age 10 or younger.
Update (Oct. 25, 6:45 p.m.): According to Stillwater police, suspect Adacia Chambers is now being held on four counts of second-degree murder and if convicted, could face 10 years to life in prison for each count.
Photos courtesy of Geoff Haxton