NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – The man who drove through a group of Moore High School runners last February, killing three of them and injuring four others, was found guilty on all charges brought against him and received recommendations from the jury for the maximum punishment on each count, including life in prison.
“I’m still sad I don’t have my son, but this is such a relief that we can close this chapter,” Tansey Hellbusch, Kolby Crum’s mother, said.
Emotions were running high in the Cleveland County courthouse Thursday evening.
“I miss her and I’m glad this is over,” Erika Martinez, Yuridia Martinez’s mom, said.
The mothers of Martinez, Crum and Rachel Freeman held each other moments after 57-year-old Max Townsend was found guilty on all ten charges brought against him, including three counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of their children.
Townsend drove through the group of runners, killing Martinez, Freeman and Crum, and injuring four other students last February outside the high school.
“His last words here on earth was to go help the others,” Hellbusch said.
Crum died 12 days after the mirror from Townsend’s truck smashed into his head, resulting in a serious head injury.
Freeman died instantly at the scene.
“I miss walks with her and laughing with her,” Jody Freeman, Rachel’s mom, said.
The impact of the crash sent Martinez’s body into a nearby pond.
“It’s so hard to explain what I’m feeling right now,” her mom said.
Townsend was found guilty of three counts of second-degree murder, with a recommended sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole.
He was also found guilty of four counts of leaving the scene of an injury accident with a recommended sentence of two years in prison for each count and three counts of leaving the scene of a fatality accident, with a recommended sentence of 10 years in prison for each count.
“We’re just grateful for the jurors to come in and give their time and attention to this case. It was hard evidence for them to have to listen to over the last two weeks,” said Greg Mashburn, Cleveland County District Attorney. “His defense is he was unconscious, right? And then his statements he couldn’t keep it straight. Did he go unconscious because of Red Bull? Because of grief? Or because the devil made him do it? He couldn’t keep his story straight, and the truth is the truth is the truth, and we’re thankful the jury saw through that.”
“Disappointed but respectful of the jury,” Kevin Butler, Townsend’s attorney, said. “Our team, as well as Mr. Townsend, our hearts again go out to these families.”
Those families are still healing, but told KFOR they finally received the justice they’ve been waiting and hoping for.
“All this anxiety that we’ve been having up to this day, I think it’s going to be over, and now it’s just learning to keep living without our children and living with the pain left missing them,” Martinez said.