Two Oklahoma HS cross country runners die after truck hits group near school

Two high school runners died when a group was hit by a truck. (Getty Images)
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Two cross country runners have died after a man driving a pickup truck hit six runners near Moore High School in Oklahoma on Monday, The Oklahoman reports.

Rachel Freeman, a 17-year-old senior, was pronounced dead at the scene Monday afternoon. Sophomore Yuridia Martinez died from her injuries Tuesday, per the report.

Martinez was one of five who were taken to the hospital for injuries. Via The Oklahoman:

Officials said the other students injured were Shiloh Hutchinson, a junior who underwent surgery for a broken arm and a broken leg; Joseph White, a senior who is no longer in critical condition but remains hospitalized; Kolby Crum, a senior who remains in critical condition, and Ashton Baza, a sophomore who was released after being treated for a broken leg and a broken ankle.

The students were running on the sidewalk when they were hit by Max Leroy Townsend, 57, at around 3:30 p.m. in a 25 MPH zone.

He also hit cars before and after hitting the students, KFOR in Oklahoma City reported. Between 100 and 250 students witnessed the accident, school officials said via The Oklahoman.

“A lot of students witnessed the actual crash and were on the scene when we arrived,” Moore police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis. “Some of those actually pointed out the direction the vehicle continued on, which helped us locate the vehicle.”

Students called 911 and helped the injured at the scene.

They were on a group run after school.

“To come around the corner and see kids and coaches give first aid and help their classmates and their students,” Dustin Horstkoetter, safety director for Moore Public Schools, said. “We live in a real good community.

My heart is hurting and broken.”

Townsend, 57, is initially charged with one complaint of manslaughter and six complaints of leaving the scene of an accident involving an injury, police said Monday. Police said the injuries suggest he was driving over the speed limit and they’re working to get a warrant for a blood test.

The day prior, Townsend’s 29-year-old son, Cody, was killed in a three-car accident in Moore. Per KFOR, it was thought to be a hit-and-run, but police now believe Cody rear-ended a vehicle with enough force the driver blacked out and left the scene.

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