MOORE, Okla. (KNWA) — Two Oklahoma high school runners were killed by a pickup truck earlier this week.
A man barreled his car through the group of cross country runners on their afternoon practice.
According to police, it was driven by a man whose son was killed in a traffic crash just days before.
Authorities believe the students were running on the sidewalk when they were hit.
The man behind the wheel was Max Leroy Townsend, 57.
Results from toxicology tests are pending.
The victims are sophomore Yuridia Martinez and senior Rachel Freeman.
One of the runners who died would have been the future college roommate for a Fayetteville High School senior.
“At first I couldn’t really believe it,” senior Nataly Nailling said. “The first girl that got hit, Rachel Freeman, was going to be my roommate. She was going to be my teammate next year.”
Nailling signed with Ouachita Baptist University to run.
Though she never met her future roommate, she spoke to her on Sunday. “[We] had plans to meet up and meet eachother in person. When my mom told me the news, it really hurt.”
Michelle Fyfe, Fayetteville High School Cross Country Coach, says the tragic incident hits close to home.
“I was devastated. It literally took my breath away,” she said. “As a coach, you step back and think, what if that would have been my kids?”
The Fayetteville Cross Country Team does not run on the streets. Instead, they run on the trails.
Whether you’re an experienced or novice runner, there are a few ways to enhance your safety.
“If you’re running on the street, you should be facing the traffic so you can see what’s coming at you. I always tell my runners…if you’re going to run on the road, then run on the left hand side,” Fyfe said. “Reflective gear is always good.”