Witnesses Describe Driver’s Behavior After Deadly Hit-And-Run Near Moore High School

Tuesday, February 4th 2020, 12:19 pm
By: Jennifer Pierce

Moore police continue to investigate a deadly auto-pedestrian crash that killed two Moore High School cross-country runners and injured four others. Witnesses and police said the suspect Max Townsend, 57, appeared intoxicated.

Investigators said Townsend’s blood test was sent to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation for testing. They will also question Townsend while he remains in the Cleveland County jail.

He currently faces six complaints of leaving the scene of an injury accident and one count of first-degree manslaughter. Police said the charges will likely change as the investigation continues.

The tragic scene on Monday near Moore High School played out only blocks from Joe Gonzales's home.

The driver accused of hitting six cross-country high school runners, killing a sophomore and senior, also drove through Gonzales's yard.

“Heard a loud bang,” said witness Joe Gonzales. 

The bang was Townsend's truck slamming into a car in Gonzales's driveway. The suspect's red truck stopped across the street and witnesses said two high school students were not far behind to confront the driver.

“Kids took the keys out of his truck and he went over and sat by his truck,” said Gonzales. “I stayed with him until the police showed up.”  

He said Townsend appeared intoxicated.

“I can’t say if he was drunk or pills of some sort,” said Gonzales. 

Gonzales also described the suspect’s actions as erratic.

“He just kept saying I lost my son, I lost my son,” said Gonzales. “He said he was going to see his sister who lives up the road.” 

Moore police confirmed Townsend's son died in a car crash over the weekend in Moore near Buck Thomas Park. Investigators are not sure if that played a part in the deadly auto-pedestrian crash involving the students.

They do know the crash is not the first time Townsend has been in trouble with the law.

“He has an extensive criminal history involving DUIs,” said Sgt. Jeremy Lewis, Moore Police Department. “Leaving the scene of an accident and drug possession.”

Related Story: Suspect In Deadly Hit-And-Run At Moore High School Has Lengthy Criminal Past

Another witness said Townsend appeared confused after the crash and concerned about his phone.