NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – The man who drove through a team of Moore High School runners in February of 2020, killing three of them and injuring four others, was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday.
On Thursday afternoon, Max Townsend was sentenced to life in prison during his formal sentencing. His three second-degree murder life sentences will run consecutively.
“Justice has been served. Earthly justice has been served,” Erika Martinez, mother of Yuridia Martinez, said.
Yuridia Martinez, Rachel Freeman and Kolby Krum, all Moore High School cross country runners, were killed when Townsend drove his truck through their team during practice on February 3, 2020. Four others were hurt.
“This is her senior year, would have been her senior year, and it’s hard. It’s been hard,” Martinez said.
Martinez made the last-minute decision to make a victim impact statement during Thursday’s formal sentencing, along with both Rachel’s and Kolby’s moms.
“I want people to remember Rachel Dawn and her legacy, and I will speak of her forever of the impact that she left on friends, the community and her family,” Jody Freeman, Rachel’s mom, said.
During her statement, Kolby’s mom, Tansey Hellbusch, once again shared with the courtroom Kolby’s final words moments after the crash, which were “go help the others.”
“Kolby was caring and loving and would never abandon anybody on the side of the road hurting,” Hellbusch said.
During the two-week trial, Townsend’s attorneys claimed he choked on a Red Bull he was drinking, leaving him unconscious at the time of the crash.
However, prosecutors pointed to evidence showing there was alcohol and THC in his system.
A jury ultimately found Townsend guilty of all counts brought against him, recommending life in prison.
Their recommendations were upheld by Judge Lori Walkley on Thursday.
“I praise God that justice was served,” Freeman said.
“It makes me feel relieved that this is over and the outcome is what we wanted. I don’t know if I’ll ever get closure. I’ll never have Kolby back,” Hellbusch said.
Townsend has hired an appellate court attorney and will be filing an appeal.