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Driver ‘kills schoolgirl and injures five by ploughing truck into cross country team hours after his son died in crash’

A GIRL was killed and five other teenagers were hurt when a pickup truck ploughed into a high school cross country running team yesterday.

Police said the driver deliberately mowed down the youngsters on the sidewalk - hours after his own son died in a car crash in Moore, Oklahoma.

Rachel Freeman died after she was hit while training outside Moore High School, where she was a senior.

Three of the five injured students were said to be in a critical condition in hospital after Monday's 3.30pm horror.

Police Sergeant Jeremy Lewis said: “There were bodies were all over Main Street.

“The injuries would indicate he was going faster than the speed limit."

The driver - named by police as Max Townsend, 57 - did not stop after running down the kids but was arrested two blocks away after he hit two other vehicles.

Pictures of his red pickup show damage to the front, which is fitted with bull bars.

Townsend is said to have deliberately aimed at the teenagers hours after his son Cody, 28, died in an unrelated road smash nearby on Sunday.

Police were last night awaiting blood tests to determine if he was drunk at the time.

Sports coaches and other students rushed to give first aid to the victims after they were struck on a training run close to the school gates.

Two girls suffered broken bones and one has a serious head injury, according to reports.

A boy who was playing softball close by said: “All of a sudden we heard a loud something and a bunch of screaming and then the coaches looked over and we all ran to see what it was.

“It was a couple of kids laying on the ground and kids surrounding them.”​

Dustin Horstkoetter, safety director for the school district, said: "We got special people that live and go to school here in Moore.

"To come around the corner and see kids and coaches giving first aid and helping their classmates and their students... we live in a good community.

"My heart is hurting and broken."

Schools superintendent Robert Romines said last night: “It is with a heavy heart that I share, there was a tragic accident that occurred earlier this afternoon at Moore High School.

"While members of the MHS Cross Country team were running on the sidewalk, six of them were violently struck by a vehicle.

"One of the students, senior Rachel Freeman, passed away.

"Our other five students that were injured are receiving medical attention.

"Please keep our students, staff, and families in your thoughts and prayers.

"Our deepest sympathies are with the Freeman family during this time.

"Mental health therapists will be available and ready to assist students as they express their feelings and grieve.”

Elite runner Rachel had won the town's 5k Moore War Run women's race in 2017, and finished third place in 2018 and 2019.

Townsend was charged with manslaughter and six counts of fleeing an accident.

His son Cody Townsend died in an unrelated hit-and-run in nearby Buck Thomas Park on Sunday.

He is said to have rear-ended another vehicle, which sent his car careering off the road where it flipped.

Cops are investigating.

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