Max Townsend

Cleveland County deputies escort Max Townsend on June 18 out of District Judge Lori Walkley’s courtroom. Townsend is facing multiple charges after he struck and killed three Moore High School runners with his vehicle Feb. 3, 2020, including three counts of second-degree murder.

Content warning: This story contains descriptions of serious injuries following the Feb. 3, 2020 hit-and-run at Moore High School.

Friday brought another emotional day in the ongoing Moore hit-and-run trial as doctors, victims and a medical examiner took the stand to give testimony.

Max Townsend, 58, is charged with three counts of second degree murder, along with several other charges, for his role in the Feb. 3, 2020 hit-and-run of Moore High School cross country runners outside the school.

Dr. Matthew Davis, an ER physician at Norman Regional Health System, was tasked with evaluating Townsend after his arrest to ensure he was stable enough to go to jail.

Davis said that Townsend came in shaking and breathing in rapid spurts, which Davis deemed intentional on Townsend’s part.

In police body camera footage of the exam shown during trial, Townsend tells Davis multiple times that he “passed out” at the wheel and that he did not drink or smoke weed. Blood tests, however, show that Townsend had traces of alcohol and THC in his body. Davis said he found no neurological damage to make him believe something was wrong with Townsend.

Townsend’s main defense, presented by his attorney Wednesday, is that he choked on a Red Bull and passed out prior to hitting six MHS runners. But Davis deemed that story unlikely — though it is possible, it is “pretty rare” for someone to pass out from a drink, the physician said.

Jurors this week have also heard from multiple witnesses who testified that they saw Townsend awake and alert at the wheel just before the crash. Audrey Hill, 17, testified Friday that she saw Townsend with both hands on the wheel, sitting up straight with his eyes open prior to the crash.

Hill was an MHS sophomore and cross country runner at the time of the hit-and-run. When Townsend hit MHS runner Shiloh Hutchinson, the force threw Hutchinson into teammate Melany Alba, who was thrown into Hill.

After she was hit and thrown over a retaining wall, Hill said she looked up and saw Yuridia Martinez get hit by the truck and launched over the trees into the pond.

Student Isaac Romero dragged Martinez out of the water, at which point Hill grabbed her from Romero.

“I grabbed her and then I laid her down and realized she’s not breathing,” Hill said. “Her eyes were wide open and she wasn’t blinking — she had about a bunch of blood coming out of her nose and it was black. Her right hip looked like it was completely dislocated, it looked like she didn’t even have a right hip.

“Once I laid her down, I started shaking her shoulders, telling her to breathe and then she finally took a breath, but it was really heavy and labored and she was just breathing out of her nose. You could tell it was really difficult for her.”

Hill prayed over Martinez, reciting the Hail Mary while they waited for help to arrive. Martinez died in the hospital the next morning.

After taking care of Martinez, Hill went to Kolby Crum, a senior left with a severe head injury. Hill heard Crum tell their coach, who came over to help him, “I’m ok coach, you go help them.”

“That was the last time he talked,” Hill said.

What wasn’t yet visible was Crum’s internal brain injury. Crum died in the hospital Feb. 15, 2020 after numerous medical attempts to stabilize him.

“After that, he tried to talk to me again, but he couldn’t,” Hill said. “I was just trying to keep talking to him and I didn’t want to touch him or anything because I know you’re not supposed to move them in case of an injury or anything, because he also had a lot of blood coming out of his head.”

Trial will resume at 10 a.m. Monday with testimony from more state witnesses.

Reese Gorman covers COVID-19, local politics and elections for The Transcript; reach him at rgorman@normantranscript.com or @reeseg_3.

Trending Video

This Week's Circulars

Recommended for you