Survivor Recalls Moore Hit-and-Run That Killed Three Friends

Mar 6, 2020

MOORE, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma high school student who was among three people to survive a hit-and-run that killed three of his friends says his fellow cross-country runners helped save his life.

Joseph White and others with the Moore High School cross-county team were jogging on the sidewalk near campus when a pickup truck hit the six students last month.

“That truck came so fast that we didn’t have time to react,” White, whose girlfriend was among those killed, told KWTV-TV in Oklahoma City.

The driver of the truck, Max Leroy Townsend, 57, is charged with manslaughter, leaving the scene of a fatality accident, driving under the influence causing great bodily injury, and leaving the scene of an accident causing personal injury. The hit-and-run happened just a day after Townsend’s 28-year-old son was killed in a traffic accident.

Coaches, students and witnesses all rushed to help when the group was struck.

“I mean, honestly I don’t think I would still be alive if it wasn’t for my teammates rushing over to help me and I don’t think as many people would (have) survived if we didn’t help each other as much,” White, who is a senior at Moore High, said.

Joseph was covered in road rash, suffered a brain bleed, a concussion and had broken bones.

Yuridia Martinez, Kolby Crum and Rachel Freeman died from their injuries.

“I don’t really care if I’m remembered as being a survivor of the tragedy,” White said. “It’s more important to celebrate and remember the lives of those that were lost and impacted.”

He says he must move forward and will always remember running alongside his teammates, especially his girlfriend, Rachel.