Suspect, 6 Victims Identified In Moore Crash That Left 1 Dead, 5 Injured
The driver responsible for plowing through a crowd of high school students killing one and leaving three others in critical condition has been identified.
A total of six student athletes were struck as they ran down a sidewalk near Moore High School.
With the driver, 57-year-old Max Leroy Townsend, in police custody investigators are working to determine why the driver veered off the roadway.
As a typical school day came to a close, chaos and heartbreak unfolded just beyond the walls of Moore High School.
“I just had people text me saying are you OK, was it you? Just asking a bunch of questions I was like what's going on,” said Moore High School student Karleigh Bernard.
“It’s tough, it's hard enough for an adult to see and witness something like that, but we're going to help these kiddos,” said Director of Moore Public Schools Dustin Horstkoetter.
According to school officials, a group of cross-country athletes were running on a sidewalk when they were blindsided by a careening pickup.
School officials have identified the deceased victim as high school senior Rachel Freeman. The five other students have been identified as Yuridia Martinez, Joseph White, Kolby Crum, Shiloh Hutchinson and Ashton Baza.
“It appears he struck vehicles before and after striking the students, said Moore Police Sgt Jeremy Lewis.
“I felt sorry for all those people because nobody deserved it and it was just a normal school day and nobody thought that was going to happen,” said Bernard.
Students and coaches leaped into action as they tried to save the lives of fellow students.
“To come around the corner to see kids and coaches giving first aid, helping their classmates and their students… we live in a really good community,” said Horstkoetter.
“For those at the scene I can’t even imagine what they were going through, “said Moore resident Chuck Brown.
“There was a bunch of cop cars and ambulances and I was like something happened and everyone was crying, it was bad,” said Bernard.
Meanwhile just five blocks away--police were seen arresting Townsend.
“They are investigating the possibility of him being intoxicated,” said Lewis.
As the investigation continues---school officials said just like they have done before they'll work to navigate yet another tragedy.
“We’re going to get through it. We’ve got through a lot in the past and this community is strong, and we are resilient, but it's tough. It gets old to have to deal with stuff like this and my heart is hurting and broken,” said Horstkoetter.
Surveillance video captured the crash and the moments leading up to it. According to police, Townsend underwent a blood draw and is in jail.
Shortly after the crash, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister released 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 Public Schools posted a statement to Facebook Monday night saying in part, "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."
According to school officials, counselors and therapists will be made available on campus Tuesday.