‘A piece of me died with him that day,’ Families of teens killed in tragic crash in Moore speak out on one year anniversary

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MOORE, Okla. (KFOR) – On the one-year anniversary of a tragic day in Moore, three families are reliving that dark afternoon when a truck slammed into a group of high school cross country runners, killing three and injuring several others.

Lights and sirens flooded Main Street outside Moore High School on February 3, 2020, when a team’s bond was forever broken by tragedy. Now, a memorial stands to honor the lives of the teenagers.

“We are missing her laughs and missing her hugs,” Ericka Martinez said. “We are missing a chunk of our family.”

The three mourning Moore families tell KFOR’s Peyton Yager they’re healing at their own pace.

Photo goes with story
Yuridia Martinez, Rachel Freeman and Kolby Crum

“His car is still in the driveway,” Tansey Hellbusch said. “Yeah, it’s tough.”

“This day honestly seems like yesterday,” Jody Freeman said.

One year ago, Moore Police say a truck, barreling 80 miles per hour through a school zone, slammed straight through a crowd of Moore cross country runners.

“How am I going to be able to get up and relieve this terrible day again?” Martinez asked.

Rachel Freeman was kiled in an auto-ped accident in Moore
Rachel Freeman was killed in the hit and run in Moore.

Seventeen-year-old senior Rachel Freeman died on scene.

Sixteen-year-old Sophomore Yuridia Martinez was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery. Twelve hours later, her family was forced to say their goodbyes.

Yuridia Martinez is the second student killed in the auto-ped
Yuridia Martinez was the second Moore student killed in the hit and run.

Eighteen-year-old Senior Kolby Crum fought for 12 days inside OU Med. His mother says she was forced to make the toughest decision of her life when doctors revealed Kolby wasn’t progressing.

“It’s not the same anymore,” Hellbusch said. “A piece of me died with him that day. I have to now learn to navigate life without him, especially with my daughter.”

Kolby Crum Photo provided by family
Kolby Crum, photo provided by family

Kolby’s mom, Tansey, says her goal is to keep her son’s many achievements alive. She transformed her front office inside her home to honor the many awards Kolby earned.

“These are some of his medals he got over the years,” Hellbusch said. “He has a lot!”

The Freemans tell KFOR they’re overwhelmed by the support over the last year from the community and strangers all over the country.

“The memory and legacy that Rachel left is amazing,” Jody Freeman said.

Ericka Martinez says, like many of the mothers, she’s relying on her faith and family for strength.

“It’s not going to be normal,” Martinez said. “It’s never going to be the same because her family was shattered.”

The three families call February 3rd a bittersweet day, as they continue to hold onto each other.

“We can pray together,” Jody Freeman said. “We can laugh together. We can cry together.”

Photo goes with story
A memorial to the three Moore High School runners who were killed in 2020 by a hit-and-run driver.

The memorial on Main Street is set to be completed mid-March. The school district tells KFOR they’re waiting on three individual plaques to hang up.

A year later, the victim’s families and the survivors are still awaiting justice. The driver accused of hitting the runners is 57-year-old Max Townsend; he is awaiting trial.

Prosecutors say Max Townsend was drunk and speeding at the time of the crash. The Cleveland County District Attorney says a judge will decide next month when Townsend’s trial will start. Townsend faces multiple counts of murder in the second degree, leaving the scene of a fatality accident and leaving the scene of an accident involving injury.

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