Oklahoma man charged with murder in deaths of 3 in car crash

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NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — The man accused of drunkenly crashing into a suburban Oklahoma City high school cross-country team and killing three student athletes has been charged with second-degree murder, an upgrade from his initial manslaughter charge.

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 Moore High School cross-country team as they ran outside their school in February.

Townsend previously pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.

Police have said Townsend was drunk and driving nearly80 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.

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.

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