STILLWATER, Okla. -- A woman charged with killing four people and injuring dozens more by driving her car into spectators at Oklahoma State University’s 2015 homecoming parade was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison after accepting a plea deal.
Adacia Chambers, 26, was sentenced in Payne County District Court after pleading no contest to four counts of second-degree murder and 39 counts of assault and battery.
Chambers was due to stand trial Tuesday and prosecutors had estimated it could have lasted a month due to the extensive list of potential witnesses, including victims, first-responders and detectives.
Chambers was apologetic to victims of the crash.
“If only I could change the past. My prayers are always with the victims,” Chambers said in court. “I was suffering from psychosis that day.”
Prosecutors alleged that Chambers purposely steered her car around a police barricade and sped up before she plowed into the crowd watching the parade before Oklahoma State’s game against the University of Kansas.
Killed in the crash were Nikita Nakal, a 23-year-old MBA student from India at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, a married couple, Bonnie Jean Stone and Marvin Lyle Stone, both 65, and 2-year-old Nash Lucas. Dozens more were injured, many of them children.
Chambers’ attorneys had argued in pretrial hearings that she had a mental illness and was experiencing a psychiatric episode at the time of the crash.
Her father said she received psychiatric treatment at an in-patient facility several years ago. A judge, though, ruled that Chambers was competent to stand trial and refused a defense request to move the trial to another jurisdiction.
One of Chambers’ attorneys, Tony Coleman, has said that when he told her about the deaths after the crash, “her face was blank” and that he wasn’t sure if she even realized she was in jail.
Speaking at a press conference in October 2015 with Adacia Chambers’ aunt, Lynda Branstetter, and her boyfriend, Jesse Gaylord, Floyd Chambers said all those who knew her said just a day before the accident she appeared “happy, funny,” and had no drug or alcohol problems they were aware of. Gaylord said they’d been talking about moving back to their hometown.
“This is so out of character,” Branstetter said.
Coleman previously said that Chambers was at work before the crash and that she doesn’t remember much of what happened, only that she felt extremely confused as she was removed from the car.
“She could have even blacked out,” Coleman said.
Witnesses described seeing people struck by the car go flying through the air and landing on the road.
Konda Walker, an OSU graduate who was in Stillwater with her sister to celebrate homecoming, said she was only about 50 feet from the crash scene.
She said it took her a few seconds to process what had happened. There were bodies and injured people lying “all over the place,” Walker said.
“One woman was a crumpled mess on the road. They turned her over and started CPR. We realized she didn’t make it,” she said.
Among the injured were nine children 10 years old or younger.