Jury reaches verdict in crash that killed 3 Moore High School runners

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NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – A man accused of hitting a group of high school runners last year, killing three of them has been found guilty of the crime.

On Feb. 3, 2020, 57-year-old Max Townsend allegedly drove his truck into a group of cross country runners from Moore High School.

Investigators say Yuridia Martinez, Joseph White, Kolby Crum, Shiloh Hutchison, Ashton Baza, and Rachel Freeman had just started on their regular route when they were hit by Townsend’s pickup truck.

Officials say Moore High School senior Rachel Freeman died just feet away from the school after being hit.

Photo goes with story
Joseph White and Rachel Freeman

“She was someone who strived to be her best, but then she was someone who supported her teammates, and she was also engaged in her community,” Rob Morris, who produced an athlete of the week piece on Freeman for Moore Monthly, said.

Officials say Yuridia Martinez, a sophomore, also died from injuries she sustained in the crash.

Yuridia Martinez is the second student killed in the auto-ped
Yuridia Martinez is the second student killed in the auto-ped

Almost two weeks after the crash, Kolby Crum succumbed to his injuries.

Kolby Crum
Kolby Crum

The three other victims spent months recovering from their injuries.

Officials arrested Townsend after he crashed into a Volkswagen Beetle before eventually stopping at a street over from the high school.

He was charged with three counts of second-degree murder, three counts of leaving the scene of a fatality accident, and three counts of leaving the scene of an injury accident.

Max Townsend
Max Townsend. Pic Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office

The state has maintained that Townsend was under influence of alcohol and THC at the time of the crash, with a blood alcohol level of .068, which is just under the legal limit.

The defense maintains that Townsend choked on a Red Bull he was drinking at the time of the crash, leaving him unconscious.

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

Both sides presented closing arguments on Friday morning before handing the case to the jury.

It took the jury about five hours to reach a verdict.

Townsend was found guilty of all charges and is suggested to receive the maximum penalty for all counts.

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