Witnesses describe emotional initial scene during trial for man accused of driving into Moore High School cross country team


NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – The trial of a man accused of killing three Moore High School athletes in 2020 during a crash continued on Monday with the jury hearing from several emotional key witnesses.

Max Townsend returned to a Cleveland County courtroom on day four of his trial.

He is facing three counts of second degree murder following the deaths of Kolby Crum, Rachel Freeman and Yuridia Martinez, who were all on the cross country team at Moore High School.

Senior Rachel Freeman,17, died on scene.

Sophomore Yuridia Martinez,16, was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery, but died 12 hours later.

Senior Kolby Crum, 18, fought for 12 days in the hospital, but eventually succumbed to his injuries.

Four other runners were injured as well when Townsend allegedly ran into them with his truck while going 77 miles-per-hour on February 3rd, 2020.

During day four of testimony on Monday, a teammate of the runners took the stand.

While fighting back tears, she told the jury she ran up to Freeman and Crum moments after the crash, attempting to give Freeman CPR.

The jury also heard from Officer Justin Sternberg with Moore PD. He was one of the first officers on scene that day.

The courtroom watched his dash camera and body camera footage, which showed Freeman and Crum lying in the street.

Sternberg was emotional while he testified that he tried to render aid for Rachel, but it was too late. He had to take a moment to pause during his testimony, fighting back tears.

After the lunch break, a former Moore High School student testified that he was driving with his friend in the area when he saw Townsend speed by him, forcing the former student to pull into a driveway, almost hitting a home in the area. He said he also saw Townsend hit two other vehicles before coming to a stop.

The witness told the courtroom he then got out of his car, ran to Townsend’s truck, took his keys and then his friend threw them on the ground.

He testified that Townsend was sobbing and talking about his son who had passed away the day before.

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Prosecutors claim Townsend was under the influence at the time of the crash, with THC and alcohol in his system.

However, the defense argues that Townsend was drinking a Red Bull, choked and that left him unconscious when he crashed.

Testimony continues Tuesday at 9 a.m.

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