The 25-year-old Stillwater woman who stands accused of plowing into a celebratory crowd at the 2015 homecoming parade for Oklahoma State University recently had amended charges filed against her by prosecutors.
The Payne County district attorney added witnesses but dropped four counts in the case. The woman faces trial on 42 counts of assault and battery via force or means likely to cause death and four counts of murder in the second degree. The counts that the prosecution deleted were related to the assaults. All remaining charges carry the possibility of life behind bars for the defendant.
She has a preliminary hearing set for April 7. The prosecution plans to present testimony of as many as 70 witnesses over a five-day period. But the amended witness list now has over 100 names on it, with potentially more to be added.
The judge will listen to evidence at the hearing to determine if the woman shall be tried on the charges.
According to police reports, the woman claimed to be suicidal when the horrific accident occurred. Due to her alleged mental illness, she faced a competency hearing. A judge ruled in December of last year that she is both competent and able to assist with her defense.
Regardless of the outcome of these criminal proceedings, injured victims and the survivors of the deceased have another path for justice that is available to them. They may seek civil justice as well by filing personal injury and/or wrongful death litigation against the driver and potentially other defendants in the Oklahoma civil court system.
Source: Times Record, "Oklahoma Prosecutor Amends Charge In Fatal OSU Parade Crash," Kyle Schwab, Feb. 24, 2016