Adacia Avery Chambers’ lawyer understands why police believe his client was drunk when she ran into a crowd of spectators during Oklahoma State University’s homecoming parade on Saturday. But he says that accusation simply isn’t true.
Attorney Tony Coleman spoke with Chambers for an hour this weekend and held a news conference afterward, in which he discussed Adacia’s mental state, health, and history with drugs and alcohol. Quite simply, Coleman said Chambers has been clean in the past — no drugs or alcohol.
“In my opinion, Ms. Chambers suffers from a mental illness. The person I met with last night did not resemble a monster by any means.”
He added that Adacia wasn’t competent during their meeting.
A toxicology report and mental health evaluation on Adacia are pending, NBC News reported. If convicted on the murder charges, Chambers could face 10 years to life in prison. She is currently being held in county jail and will make her first court appearance Monday.
Chambers now faces four second-degree murder charges, tacked onto a charge of driving under the influence, the New York Times reported. Adacia crashed into the parade crowd in Stillwater, Oklahoma, killing four people and injuring 46. Five of the victims remain in critical condition.
Three of the dead were killed at the scene; a 2-year-old boy died at a hospital from his injuries. The child hasn’t been named, but the other victims have been identified as Marvin and Bonnie Stone, both 65, of Stillwater, and Nakita Prabhakar, 23.
A memorial has been placed on the site of the crash, where mourners left balloons, flowers, stuffed toys, and candles. Someone left a handmade sign that said, “It’s always darkest before dawn. Stay strong.”
With Adacia now in jail and facing serious charges, her attorney is stepping forward with some theories about how the 25-year-old found herself responsible for the deaths of four people and the maiming of so many others. Mental health issues, including suicide, and health problems have been put forward, but the role of drugs and alcohol discounted.
According to KJRH, Coleman is certified in DUI detection and thus believes he’s determined that Adacia wasn’t drunk. He added that a person would have to be extremely intoxicated to demonstrate the level of impairment Adacia did on Saturday. And come Sunday, he said he didn’t smell alcohol on her person and Chambers didn’t seem to be recovering from a “drunken stupor,” though he met with her hours later.
Her family and boyfriend have also said Adacia did not drink or use drugs and hadn’t done so Saturday morning. Though the steps Chambers took in the hours before the crash are sketchy — she can’t remember them herself.
Adacia left for work at 9 a.m. at a custard shop. Coleman said she left within the hour in tears because she was asked to leave, though her employer hasn’t commented on the matter. Evidently, Chambers remembers nothing after that until the time of the crash, about 10:20 a.m., when she can recall shards of broken glass and confusion. Coleman believes she blacked out.
Adacia’s boyfriend reported she was diabetic, but wasn’t being treated; she wasn’t taking prescription meds. Her attorney is looking into whether a health issue may have occurred prior to the crash.
And according to her family, Chambers displayed warning signs of mental illness, including uneasiness and trouble sleeping. According to News On 6, Adacia’s family had sought mental health treatment for her after several years displaying symptoms; they were concerned about her insomnia, self-image issues, and her “uncertainty about her future.” These issues may have been worsened by a recent move from her home to Stillwater.
Mental illness also ran in her family, though Adacia herself has never been diagnosed or treated.
Coleman also said that Chambers has been suicidal in the past and may have been before Saturday’s tragic collision. Meanwhile, her family is said to be reeling from Chambers’ involvement, with her father calling the event tragic and his daughter a quiet woman and good person.
“Devastation is an understatement. Everyone is completely devastated. The state, citizens of Stillwater, family of the victims fighting for their lives right now as we speak, and will be recovering for weeks and months to come.”
[Photo By J Pat Carter/ Getty Images]