Man Charged With Hitting Students With Vehicle Will Stand Trial

Friday, July 24th 2020, 6:21 pm
By: News 9, Clayton Cummins

NORMAN, Okla. -

Following hours of testimony Friday, a Cleveland County judge decided the case involving 57-year-old Max Townsend will go to trial. 

Townsend is accused of hitting several Moore High School cross country runners with his truck, killing three in February. He faces 12 charges related to the incident, including three murder charges. 

Townsend told police his son had recently died. 

Friday’s preliminary hearing lasted over eight hours. Students and Moore police officers involved in the incident testified. 

Officers said Townsend was driving nearly 80 miles per hour, describing the scene as bodies, clothes and shoes scattered everywhere. 

“Obviously we hurt just as much as everyone else, we want to see justice in this,” Michael Freeman said. “That’s why we are here.”

Freeman’s daughter, Rachel, was one of the Moore High School students killed that day.  

"Today is bringing up a lot of memories,” Freeman said. “Some of those memories we’ve tried to put in the back of our minds and they’re all coming back today.”

Rachel Freeman’s boyfriend, Joseph White, was also injured in the incident. He testified in court.  

“I talk to my friends about it all the time. It’s not something that is going away anytime soon,” White said. “People talk about it all the time with me at work even though I don’t want to. It is something that I cannot escape. It’s is something that always follows me now.”

As trial nears Townsend's attorney, Kevin Butler, said his client is innocent. 

“If everyone will keep an open mind, our hope is that the evidence will come out and there will be a resolve to this matter that is favorable for Mr. Townsend,” Butler said. 

Despite one charge against Townsend being dropped Friday, his attorney wanted several others dropped in addition but that did not happen. 

A trial date has yet to be set.  

Related: Police Obtain Search Warrant For Suspect In Moore High School Tragedy