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Fatal Crash Strikes Cross-Country Team While Running

Brock Fritz

A pair of Oklahoma high school cross-country runners have died after being hit by a pickup truck Monday.

According to the Moore Public Schools Twitter account, Members of the Moore High School cross-country team were running on the sidewalk when a vehicle ran into them and drove away. Senior Rachel Freeman and sophomore Yuridia Martinez died as a result, while four more students were hospitalized with injuries.

“As we move forward through this unthinkable tragedy – please keep our students, staff, and families in your thoughts and prayers,” the Moore Public Schools’ tweet said, while a vigil was held in the high school gym on Tuesday night.

KOCO 5, an ABC-affiliated television station in Oklahoma City, reported that the crash occurred near Eastern Avenue and Main Street in Moore. Moore Police Public Information Officer Sgt. Jeremy Lewis said that Freeman was pronounced dead at the scene, while Martinez died in the hospital.

The Associated Press reported that Ashton Baza was released from the hospital Monday night, while spokeswoman April Sandefer said that Kolby Crum remained in critical condition, and Joseph White and Shiloh Hutchinson were in fair condition.

“Without hesitation or second thought, our students were there with their friends and began life-saving tactics including CPR,” Superintendent Robert Romines said.

The AP reported that Max Leroy Townsend, 57, was being held in Cleveland County jail on charges of first-degree manslaughter and six counts of leaving the scene of an accident.

The police are still investigating why the crash occurred. Townsend’s son, Cody Townsend, was killed Sunday in a car crash in Moore.

I know the big question a lot of people have is, ‘Why? What happened? Why did this happen?’” Lewis said. “I assure you we will find out why and know exactly what happened, and how it happened, and then deal with the individual that caused this after that investigation is complete.”

Dustin Horstkoetter, the director of safety and security at Moore Public Schools, told the AP that Freeman was planning to sign a track and field scholarship to Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas this week.

Moore Public Schools had 30 mental health specialists on hand Tuesday, while schools were closed Wednesday due to inclement weather.

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