NORMAN, Okla. -- The man accused of killing three student athletes after he crashed into a high school cross-country team outside a suburban Oklahoma City school has been charged with second-degree, an upgrade from initial manslaughter charges.
Court records show that murder charges were filed Monday against Max Leroy Townsend, 57, of Tuttle, Oklahoma. He's accused of crashing into members of the cross-country team at Moore High School as they ran outside their school in February. Townsend had previously pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.
Police have said Townsend was drunk, driving nearly 80 mph (129 kph) in a 25-mph (40 kph) zone when he crossed two lanes of traffic onto a sidewalk and crashed into the runners. Yuridia Martinez, 16, Rachel Freeman, 17, and Kolby Crum, 18, were killed in the crash.
Jail records show Townsend remains in custody on bonds totaling $1.2 million and faces additional charges of leaving the scene of a fatality accident, leaving the scene of an injury accident and driving under the influence of alcohol.
The day before the crash, Townsend’s 29-year-old son was killed in a multi-vehicle auto accident in Moore.