2nd student dies after truck hits Oklahoma runners


Emergency crews respond to a scene where the red vehicle hit several Moore High School students, killing at least one, in Moore, Okla., Monday, Feb. 3, 2020. At least one girl was killed and several other people were injured, three critically, when a motorist slammed his vehicle into the high school cross-country team as they ran along a street outside their suburban Oklahoma City school Monday, officials said. (Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman via AP)

A second suburban Oklahoma City high school student died after a group of cross-country runners was struck by a pickup truck that authorities say was driven by man whose son was killed in a traffic crash over the weekend, a school official said Tuesday.

Sophomore Yuridia Martinez, who had been hospitalized in critical condition since the Monday crash, has since died, Dustin Horstkoetter, director of safety and security at Moore Public Schools, said. Officials had previously said that senior Rachel Freeman was killed when the truck slammed into members of the school’s cross-country team.

Moore police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis said authorities believe the students were running on the sidewalk when they were struck. Authorities had previously said they were running along a street outside Moore High School.

Three other students remained hospitalized with injuries. Student Kolby Crum was in critical condition at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital, according to spokeswoman April Sandefer, while students Joseph White and Shiloh Hutchinson were in fair condition. Student Ashton Baza was released Monday night.

The ages of the students have not been released.

Freeman was set to sign a track and field scholarship this week with Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, Horstkoetter said.

Police arrested Max Leroy Townsend, 57, in the fatal crash. He was booked into the Cleveland County jail on charges of first-degree manslaughter and six counts of failure to stop and render aid. Townsend was initially reported to be 56.

Police suspect alcohol was a factor, according to Lewis, who said results from toxicology tests were pending.

“That won’t be for quite a while,” Lewis said. “That’s a blood test that requires being sent to a lab.”

Townsend has a lengthy criminal history in Oklahoma that includes multiple convictions for driving under the influence, public intoxication, possession of drugs and stolen property, stalking and child abuse, court records show. He served time in prison on convictions for child abuse, receiving stolen property and possession of drugs, but was released in 2009, state prison records show.

Lewis said Townsend’s son, Cody Townsend, was killed Sunday in a multi-vehicle crash in Moore.

Horstkoetter said Moore schools are grieving and noted that it was not the first time the school system has been hit with tragedy, alluding to a tornado that destroyed an elementary school in 2013, killing seven students.


Source: Associated Press – Ken Miller