6 students hit, 1 killed when driver plows into cross country runners near Oklahoma high school


MOORE, Okla. (KFOR) – Police and school officials say that a pickup driver struck several cross country athletes near an Oklahoma high school Monday afternoon, killing one and seriously injuring three others.

Max Leroy Townsend, 57, allegedly mowed down six cross country runners near an Oklahoma high school, killing one. (Moore Police Dept.)

Police said the suspect, 57-year-old Max Leroy Townsend, hit six students in the 300 block of North Eastern near Moore High School.

One female student, Rachel Freeman, was killed, and three others are in critical condition Monday. Officials identified the other victims as Yuridia Martinez, Joseph White, Kolby Crum, Shiloh Hutchison, and Ashton Baza.

The victims were taken to OU Med where they are currently being treated in the trauma bay.

“It appears (the suspect) struck vehicles before and after striking the students,” Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis said Monday. “We are waiting on a warrant to draw his blood, which is typical with someone involved in a fatality crash but they are investigating the possibility of him being intoxicated.”

Police officials told KFOR that Townsend’s son, Cody, was killed over the weekend in a car wreck just a mile away from the scene.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister sent the following statement:

”The families, students and staff of Moore High School are enduring heart-wrenching tragedy this evening. The trauma team of the Oklahoma State Department of Education will be on site beginning Tuesday to help students through this terrible incident.
Tonight we pray for the Moore community and stand ready to assist in any way we can.”

Moore High School Principal, Mike Coyle sent the following email to parents:

“It is with great sadness and heavy heart that I share with you, there was a tragic accident this afternoon at Moore High School. Six of our cross-country students were running on the sidewalk and were struck by a vehicle.
One of our students, Senior- Rachel Freeman, passed away. Our other five students that were injured are receiving medical attention: Yuridia Martinez, Joseph White, Kolby Crum, Shiloh Hutchison, and Ashton Baza.
Please keep the students, staff, and our families in your thoughts. Our sympathies are with the Freeman family during this time.
All students will be informed of the accident and of Rachel’s passing by their first hour teacher tomorrow. MHS School Counselors and MPS Mental Health Therapists will be available and ready to assist students as they express their feelings and grieve. We believe this online grievance support may offer support for parents and guardians as they console and help their children through this tragedy. Please contact the school office if you have questions of concerns, and if you feel your child needs assistance. We want to help.”

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