UPDATE: Man who killed 3 Moore High School runners in hit-and-run crash sentenced to life in prison

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Max Townsend

Max Townsend

UPDATE: The man who crashed his pickup into a team of Moore High School cross country runners, killing three and injuring the three others, has been sentenced to life in prison.

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

Max Townsend was sentenced Thursday. The judge honored the jury’s recommended sentences, which called for Townsend to receive the maximum penalty for each count against him.

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

The life sentences for the second-degree murder counts are to run consecutively. The sentences on the other charges are to run concurrently.

Cross country runners Yuridia Martinez, Joseph White, Kolby Crum, Shiloh Hutchison, Ashton Baza and Rachel Freeman were training on Feb. 3, 2020, when they were struck by Townsend near the school, about one mile from the Moore Police Department.

Townsend fled the scene, but officers arrested him after he crashed into a Volkswagen Beetle and stopped a street over from the school.

Freeman, Martinez and Crum died from injuries they suffered in the crash. The other victims spent weeks recovering from their injuries.

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

Original Story

NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – A man who was convicted of hitting a group of high school runners last year, killing three of them, will learn his fate.

On Feb. 3, 2020, 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 argued 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

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

Townsend was found guilty of all charges, and the jury recommended that he receive the maximum penalty for all counts.

On Thursday, Townsend is set to be sentenced and could face up to life in prison.

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