Witness testimony begins in trial for man accused of driving into Moore High School cross country team

Local

A typo in the original version has been corrected.

NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – Testimony began Thursday in the trial of Max Townsend, who is facing 3 counts of second-degree murder after he allegedly hit Moore High School Cross Country runners with his truck in February of 2020, killing three and injuring several others.

It was the second day of court for Townsend, but the first day of witness testimonies. The state prosecutors called several witnesses to the stand Thursday morning and afternoon, seeking to paint a picture of Townsend’s mindset during the incident as well as what happened overall.

The jurors are being asked to determine if his truck sped up in the presence of the kids. However, the state’s argument is that he passed out and was unconscious during the incident due to choking on a red bull drink. The state’s witnesses were all involved in the incident in some way.

One of them was a cross country runner who was hit by Townsend’s truck. He suffered injuries to his lower body as well as road rash all over.

Moore police officer Zach Grismer appeared as well. The state showed his gruesome body camera footage as he worked to help after the incident.

A Moore Public Schools employee and former police detective took to the stand as well. He helped the kids during the incident as well as police later on to recover surveillance video. The video was shown in court giving multiple angles of the truck traveling near Moore High School before plowing into the cross country runners.

The defense argues that the truck appeared to be going the correct speed in the school zone before speeding up. They added that none of the state’s witnesses ever came in contact with Townsend after the incident or could identify him.

This comes after opening statements ended Wednesday with the state arguing that Townsend acted with imminently dangerous conduct with THC and alcohol in his system. The defense cited him choking on red bull and that he did not have a depraved mind due to drugs or alcohol.

Two women called to the stand, one of them a Moore High School soccer player, were driving in the area when it happened. One of them stated Townsend was driving “way faster than I had ever seen anyone drive in that area.”

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Both said they had to swerve out of the way in each of their encounters with his truck as it sped toward them at 77 mph.

Key points in the defenses argument state that Townsend was unconscious during the incident. However, both women said Townsend had his hands on the wheel and “looked attentive” while driving.

The defense argues there that the incident happened quickly. They questioned their ability to see something like that in an incident that unfolded in seconds. The trial is set to continue Friday morning.

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