Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Well Liked and Respected Employee in Stillwater

According to her father and a boyfriend, Adacia Chambers does not have a drug, or alcohol problem. The 25 year old woman is from Oologah, Oklahoma which is north of Tulsa, near a large man made lake of the same name. It is such a nondescript little village its most famous son, humorist and early day movie star, Will Rogers chose to tell people he was from nearby Claremore, which is not only larger, but easier to pronounce.

Ms. Chambers remained in Oologah, staying with her father, until six months ago. She finally left to move in with a boyfriend who lived in Stillwater, the home of Oklahoma State University. After hitting town she found a job at a fast food restaurant called, Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers. According to a story in today's The Oklahoman written by Matt Dinger, she was a, "well liked and respected employee."

Last Friday night, after working a full day, she and the boyfriend joined in an Oklahoma State Homecoming tradition known as the "walkabout." It is when returning alums, locals, and fans stroll down the streets near the university admiring the different decorations put up by students in honor of the celebration. Afterwards, she returned to the store and helped her fellow employees clean and close the place up for the night.

Saturday morning she reported for work, but something seemed off. Around 9:00am Adacia Chambers abruptly left the restaurant. The manager maintains she was not fired, or sent home for disciplinary reasons. One unidentified person claimed that as she walked away from the store she was crying. Unless some other, as yet unknown, witness comes forward at a later date, no one knows where she was for the next hour and a half. It is as if she temporarily disappeared into the twilight zone. The current evidence is she actually did, because during that time something went horribly wrong in her head.

She was next seen at 10:30am in her car barreling through a red light three blocks north of the Homecoming parade route. As people frantically waved for her to stop she blew past two traffic barricades, knocking one of them to the side. Finally, she smashed into a parked police motorcycle then into the crowd gathered at the intersection of Main Street and Hall of Fame Avenue. At least two people have been quoted as saying she never hit the brakes and, in fact, seemed to speed up.

By the time her car came to a stop over 50 people were injured, three were killed, and a fourth would die later at an Oklahoma City hospital. One of the dead was two years old, two were in their mid sixties and another was a University of Central Oklahoma grad student from India.

Yesterday's The Oklahoman cited a court affidavit as saying, while she was being booked into jail, Ms. Chambers told officers that she was suicidal at the time of the crash, but not any more. If she did go all kamikaze Saturday morning she wasn't very good at it. After leaving dozens of injured littered on the street and four dead, or dying, local police led her away in cuffs unharmed.

Her boyfriend, Jesse Gaylord was quoted as saying, "It would have to be something medical, or seizures, or mental. She would never do anything like that consciously." He also told reporters that nothing seemed unusual when she left for work that morning. Of course not, it never does.

Her attorney immediately began playing to potential jurors through both the local and national media. He told the press Ms. Chambers didn't seem drunk, but certainly didn't appear competent when he initially talked to her. The Oklahoman's Kyle Schwab, reports the lawyer, Tony Coleman said, "There was a very blank, almost lifeless look in her face." Mr. Coleman also noted she had been hospitalized twice in the last two years for undisclosed mental issues and hinted there had been suicide attempts in the past.

Adacia Chambers is currently sitting in the Payne County jail. Her bail was set at one million dollars and a psych evaluation has been ordered. The county DA has yet to file official charges against her, probably because her office has never been confronted with a nightmare of this scope. The word in the local media is they are going hit her with four counts of second degree murder and given the number of injured, God only knows what and how many other charges.

Years ago, the United Negro College Fund used to run some public service spots on TV which ended with the tag line, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." True, but sometimes it's obvious a mind is simply a terrible thing.

Just ask them in Stillwater.


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