Adacia Chambers, the driver accused of killing four in a horrifying crash at the Oklahoma State University (OSU) Homscoming Parade on Saturday, was not driving drunk as police initially alleged alleged, but may suffer from other serious health problems that could have played a role in the tragedy, according to an attorney for Chambers, Tony Coleman.
The disastrous crash at a parade in Stillwater, Oklahoma, prior to the OSU vs. Kansas Homecoming football game, claimed the life of two-year-old Nash Lucas and three others, as well as injuring 47 others, with five of those remaining in critical condition late Sunday.
The mother of toddler Nash Lucas, an OSU student, was also injured when a Hyundai Electra allegedly driven by Adacia Chambers struck a parked police motorcycle then careened into the homecoming parade crowd, causing panic and sending bodies flying.
Payne County District Attorney Laura Austin Thomas said that Chambers was being held in Payne County Jail on four charges of second-degree murder but would likely also be charged with driving while on drugs, but not alcohol, according to a report in USA Today.
But on Sunday afternoon, Coleman said that there were other possible issues with the 25-year-old Chambers that may have been behind the bloody automobile crash.
“I don’t believe right now that she was intoxicated,” attorney Tony Coleman said Sunday afternoon, speaking to The Oklahoman newspaper. “I have deep concerns about her competency at this point. I’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist, but I can tell you she’s suffering from mental illness.”
While Coleman said during a press conference later Sunday that he was waiting for toxicology reports before ruling out drug use by Chambers, he was certain that she had not been drinking. He met with his client for an hour after her arrest on Saturday, and said he came away convinced that Chambers showed no signs of alcohol intoxication.
However, the attorney said he had reason to believe that Adacia Chambers may have experienced a diabetic episode that could also have contributed to her losing control of her vehicle and plowing through the OSU homecoming crowd.
“She’s diabetic, she’s not being treated for it,” Coleman said in the press conference carried live by KJRH-TV. “We don’t know for sure anything right now. The boyfriend she lives with tells me she’s been diagnosed. I did in fact reach out to her dad and he seemed to confirm it.”
Coleman said that his previous experience representing mentally ill offenders caused him to believe that Chambers herself was suffering from some form of psychological disorder.
“I was not satisfied that the person I met with was a competent, normally functioning individual,” Coleman said. “I just wasn’t.”
Earlier reports on Saturday quoted a witness, Stillwater resident Justin DeNoya, 36, who said that he believed Chambers had been fired from her part-time job at a fast-food establishhment, Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, just a half-hour before the deadly OSU Homecoming crash.
But the restaurant’s owner, Mark Thomspon, told The Stillwater News Press that Chambers was, in fact, in good standing at her job.
“She was always on time. She is a pleasant person. I have nothing to say about her that isn’t good. She has been an excellent employee,” Thompson told the paper. “She didn’t appear to be under the influence (when she left).”
DeNoya — who works at a business nearby the Freddy’s, also said that Chambers, whom he observed from about 30 feet away, did not appear intoxicated as she walked away from the fast food joint — but she did appear to be in tears, he said.
Adacia Chambers is a native of Oologah, Oklahoma, but moved to Stillwater about 100 miles from her childhood home to live with her boyfriend in Stillwater, according to her lawyer. The cause of her lethal crash into the OSU parade crowd remains unknown.
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