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'Unbearable': 2 Teens Dead After Pickup Hits Runners

Driver Max Townsend's son had been killed in a car accident the previous day
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2020 8:14 AM CST
Updated Feb 4, 2020 1:18 PM CST

(Newser) – Oklahoma's Max Townsend lost his 29-year-old son in a car accident on Sunday. A day later, police say he plowed his pickup into a group of teenage runners, and two of the teens have since died, reports ABC News. Townsend is in custody and suspected of drunk driving as the investigation continues. Coverage:

  • Hit-and-run: Police in Moore, Oklahoma, say Townsend, 57, drove into six members of Moore High School's cross-country team who were out for a practice run about 3:30pm Monday. Police say Townsend, who showed "signs of impairment" in a field sobriety test, left the scene of the accident and was caught about three blocks away. Police say he also hit two parked cars, a mailbox, and drove over multiple front lawns, reports KFOR.
  • Victims: Senior Rachel Freeman was pronounced dead at the scene, and sophomore Yuridia Martinez died Tuesday. One student who suffered a broken leg and broken ankle was released from the hospital Monday, and the other three teens remain hospitalized. One of them is in critical condition. The school district says the teens were running on the sidewalk when hit, reports the Oklahoman.

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  • Background: Townsend has an "extensive criminal history" including DUIs and leaving the scene of an accident, says Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis, per ABC. However, despite police suspicions that Townsend was under the influence on Monday, he has not yet been charged with that. One teen witness was quoted in the Oklahoman as saying "it looked like the driver was going 90 miles an hour." The speed limit where the crash happened is 25mph.
  • His son: Cody Townsend died less than a mile away on Sunday when his truck rear-ended a car, struck another vehicle, left the roadway, and flipped, report KOKH and KOCO. That crash remains under investigation.
  • Charges: Max Townsend is jailed on charges of first-degree manslaughter as well as six counts of leaving the scene of an accident. It's a tragedy "unbearable to comprehend," Superintendent Robert Romines wrote in a Facebook post.
(Read more hit and run stories.)

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