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6 students hit, two dead in Oklahoma auto-pedestrian crash

Suspect taken into custody shortly after collision
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Posted at 10:46 AM, Feb 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-04 13:16:30-05

Officials tell News 4 that multiple juveniles were hit and two were killed in an auto-pedestrian crash near Moore High School, according to KJRH's news partner, KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City.

First responders were called to the 300 block of North Eastern in Moore Monday afternoon.

Officials say Joseph White, Kolby Crum, Shiloh Hutchison, and Ashton Baza were hit and Rachel Freeman and Yuridia Martinez were killed. Two of the students are in critical condition at this time.

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

Moore Police and Public School officials say that the students were cross country athletes that were running for practice when they were struck.

The suspect is a 57-year-old white male now identified as Max Leroy Townsend.

Police officials tell News 4 Townsend's son, Cody Townsend, was killed over the weekend when he was involved in a car wreck just a mile away near Buck Thomas Park.

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."

Dr. Robert Romines, Superintendent for Moore Public Schools also sending a statement on today's incident:

"Our hearts are heavy in Moore Public Schools as we process this tragedy that is unbearable to comprehend. While members of the Moore High School (MHS) Cross Country/Track team were running on the sidewalk, six of them were violently struck by a vehicle.

One of our students, Senior – Rachel Freeman, passed away. Our other five students have been hospitalized and are receiving medical attention.

This evening and as we move forward through this unthinkable tragedy – please keep our students, staff, and families in your thoughts and prayers. Our deepest condolences are with the Freeman family during this time.

Appreciate each and everyone one of you!"

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