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Man Allegedly Ran Down Cross Country Team, Killing Two, Day After Son Was Killed In Crash
Six track athletes were running on a sidewalk in Moore, Oklahoma when authorities say Max Leroy Townsend intentionally rammed into them.
An Oklahoma man allegedly crashed into six high school cross country track athletes – killing two – just a day after his own son died in a separate car wreck, authorities said.
Max Leroy Townsend, 57, is accused of intentionally slamming his vehicle into six members of Moore High School’s track team on Monday.
Yuridia Martinez, Joseph White, Kolby Crum, Shiloh Hutchison, Ashton Baza, and Rachel Freeman were struck in the incident, school officials confirmed, according to KFOR-TV.
Freeman, a high school senior, died at the scene, according to CNN. Sophomore student Martinez died from her injuries on Tuesday, USA Today reported. A number of the surviving students were listed in critical condition on Monday.
The fatal collision occurred around 3:30 p.m. while the track team was training and running on a sidewalk, police said. After allegedly striking the teenagers, Townsend crashed into another vehicle, where he was arrested by law enforcement.
He was charged with six counts of leaving the scene of an accident and one count of manslaughter. Following Martinez’s death, Townsend will likely face an additional manslaughter charge.
“Bodies were all over Main Street,” Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis said at a press briefing Tuesday. “The injuries would indicate he was going faster than the speed limit."
Moore police haven’t yet released a potential motive, CNN reported.
"I assure you: We will find out why and exactly what happened, and how it happened, and then deal with the individual that caused this," Lewis said.
However, authorities say they believe Townsend may have been intoxicated.
"There were signs of impairment due to the ... field sobriety test that we gave him, and that was part of the investigation ... and why he was arrested," Assistant Police Chief Todd Strickland said.
A day before the crash, Townsend's son Cody struck a utility pole and with his car and died, KFOR-TV reported.
Moore High School’s administration described the crash Monday as an “unthinkable tragedy.”
“Please keep the students, staff, and our families in your thoughts,” Moore High School principal Mike Coyle said in an email to parents, according to KFOR-TV. “Our sympathies are with the Freeman family during this time.”
School officials also stated trauma counselors and therapists would be available to students in the coming days.
“Tonight we pray for the Moore community and stand ready to assist in any way we can,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister added.
A vigil for the students killed in the collision was scheduled for Tuesday, according to KOCO-TV.
Townsend is currently in custody and being held on a $7,000,000 bond, according to court records. It was unclear if he had a lawyer who could comment on his behalf.