Drunk driver, 58, handed three life sentences for killing three teenage runners

An Atlanta woman has been sentenced to three life sentences for hot-wiring her car and crashing into three teenagers while they were running in the road. Nyesa Lynn Smith, 58, will be denied parole after serving the minimum of 20 years. She was also ordered to pay $1.5 million in restitution.

A 58-year-old man from Atlanta has been sentenced to three life sentences after he ran a red light and killed three teenagers who were celebrating one of their school’s wins.

max townsend

Max Townsend, 58, was convicted in June of three charges of second-degree murder (AP/KOCO).

A guy was sentenced to three life terms after mowing down and murdering three high school cross country runners in his pickup truck while inebriated.

On February 3, 2020, Max Townsend, 58, left the scene after driving over a group of seven Moore High School students out for a run in suburban Oklahoma City.

Three of the kids, Kolby Crum, 18, Rachel Freeman, 17, and Yuridia Martinez, 16, died as a result of their injuries suffered in the hit-and-run.

The other kids who were struck sustained serious injuries and had to go to therapy for many weeks.

FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2020, file photo from the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office shows Max Leroy Townsen. Moore, Okla., Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis told The Associated by phone Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, that a pickup truck driven by Townsend, was traveling 79 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone on Feb. 2, 2020, when it struck members of the high school's cross-country team on a sidewalk outside the suburban Oklahoma City school. Townsen has been charged with manslaughter in the deaths of two suburban Oklahoma City high school cross-country athletes whom he hit. (Cleveland County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

Max Townsend was speeding at 79 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone when he collided with seven members of the high school cross-country team on a sidewalk outside the suburban Oklahoma City school. (Photo courtesy of AP)

Townsend was driving at 79 mph in a 25 mph zone at the time of the accident and was determined to be under the influence of alcohol and THC.

Townsend’s defense counsel, on the other hand, said he passed out before the accident because he was “choking on a Red Bull.”

According to KWTV-DT, he was detained after crashing into a Volkswagen Bug on a street near the school. 

In June, Townsend was found guilty of three charges of second-degree murder, and on Wednesday, after five-and-a-half hours of deliberation, he was sentenced to three life terms, the maximum punishment, in an Oklahoma courtroom.

Families of the dead stated they were pleased to learn of Townsend’s life sentence following the sentencing.

‘It’s as though a tremendous burden has been removed off my shoulders. Tansey Hellbusch, Kolby Crum’s mother, stated, “I’m still heartbroken that I don’t have my son, but it’s such a relief that we can end this chapter.”

‘I do want Mr Townsend to know I’ve forgiven him, even though he doesn’t deserve it,’ Michael Freeman, Rachel’s father, said.

Max Townsend, the man who crashed his vehicle into a group of Moore High School students, killing three of them, has officially been sentenced to life in prison. Cleveland County District Judge Lori Walkley formally sentenced Townsend to life in prison for the murders of three Moore High School cross country runners, Kolby Crum, Rachel Freeman and Yuridia Martinez. Advertisement Townsend was found guilty on three second-degree murder charges in June.

In February 2020, a terrifying hit-and-run occurred (Picture: KOCO)

Max Townsend arrives for his sentencing Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in Norman, Okla. Townsend was convicted of three counts of second-degree murder, three counts of leaving the scene of a fatality accident and four counts of leaving the scene of an injury accident for running over members of the Moore High School cross country team, killing Yuridia Martinez, Rachel Freeman and Kolby Crum and injuring others. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

On Thursday, August 19, Max Townsend was condemned (Picture: AP)

‘I am not seeking revenge from this court; that is in God’s hands, but I do want justice.’

After being sentenced by Cleveland County District Judge Lori Walkley, Townsend allegedly exhibited no remorse for his conduct. 

On an interview with KOCO5, Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn stated, “To take their lives and continue to speak about them as if they were simply garbage that he struck in the road is disgusting, and so he deserves every day that he’s going to spend for the rest of his life.”

Three charges of second-degree murder, three counts of leaving the site of a death accident, and four counts of leaving the scene of an injury accident were originally filed against Townsend.

However, he was only convicted of the three second-degree murder counts in June.

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