Family of student killed by driver living 'horrible dream'

KEN MILLER
Max Leroy Townsen en una fotografía del 3 de febrero de 2020 proporcionada por la oficina del sheriff del condado de Cleveland, Oklahoma. La policía arrestó a Townsend, de 57 años, diciendo que conducía una camioneta que atropelló a miembros de un equipo de campo traviesa de una escuela secundaria en los suburbios de la ciudad de Oklahoma. (Oficina del sheriff del condado de Cleveland vía AP)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The man arrested for driving into a group a high school cross-country runners in suburban Oklahoma City, killing two and injuring four was talking to himself and spoke of his son, killed in an auto crash the day before, a man who spoke with him moments after the crash said Wednesday.

Joe Gonzales said he went to Townsend's truck after it stopped Monday afternoon in the street outside Gonzales' home about three blocks from where the Moore High School students were struck.

Gonzales, 62, said he was babysitting his grandson when he went outside after hearing something crash into his son's car in the yard outside his home and stayed with Townsend until police arrived.

“He was just talking to himself, looking for his phone,” and said “I just lost my son,” according to Gonzales.

Townsend's son, Cody Townsend, died in an auto accident Sunday in Moore, according to police.

Townsend, 57, is jailed on charges of manslaughter and failing to stop and render aid.

Police have said they suspect alcohol was a factor, according to Sgt. Jeremy Lewis, but results from toxicology tests were pending.

Jail and court records do not list an attorney who could speak on Townsend's behalf and his daughter, Cortney Townsend declined to speak about the crash when contacted by The Associated Press.

“I just don't think right now is a good time,” to talk, Cortney Townsend said.

Phone calls to the Cleveland County District Attorney's Office, which was closed Wednesday because of snow in the area, were not immediately returned.

Students Yuridia Martinez and Rachel Freeman died of injuries suffered when they were struck by the truck.

“We are living in a horrible dream that we can’t wake up from,” the family of Martinez, 16, said in a statement Wednesday released through the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.

"This is so difficult. We miss her very much. Please continue to pray for us, for Yuridia and for the children and families suffering this loss,” the statement said.

Students Kolby Crum, Joseph White, Shiloh Hutchinson and Ashton Baza were injured.

Crum, White and Hutchinson remained hospitalized Wednesday, Crum in critical condition, White in fair condition and Hutchinson in good condition, according to University of Oklahoma Medical Center spokeswoman April Sandefer.

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Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner contributed to this report from New York.