Toby Keith Asks For ‘Prayers’ After ‘Terrible Tragedy’ Strikes His Hometown

Country star Toby Keith is asking fans to keep the people of his town of Moore, Oklahoma in their thoughts…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

February 4, 2020


5:39 pm

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Toby Keith; Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Country Thunder USA

Country star Toby Keith is asking fans to keep the people of his town of Moore, Oklahoma in their thoughts and prayers after a deadly hit-and-run that left two highschoolers dead and others injured.

According to KOCO News, Moore police responded to a hit-and-run involving pedestrians near Moore High School on Monday (Feb. 3). A pickup truck reportedly struck six students and sped away. The driver, whom police identified as 57-year-old Max Leroy Townsend, was apprehended three blocks away from the scene.

Senior Rachel Freeman was killed at the scene, while Sophomore Yuridia Martinez succumbed to her injuries on Tuesday (Feb. 4). ABC reports that the other injured students, senior Kolby Crum, junior Shiloh Hutchinson and senior Joseph White, remain in the hospital.

Though Townsend’s motive is unknown, Moore Police said that his 29-year-old son lost his life in a car accident near the scene of the hit-and-run on Sunday (Feb. 2). That crash is still under investigation.

Keith, who resides in Moore, shared a message for those affected by the tragedy on Twitter Tuesday evening.

“Prayers needed for comfort and strength to the families and kids of Moore Oklahoma after a terrible tragedy,” he wrote.

The “Red Solo Cup” singer is a proud native of Moore, Oklahoma. When the city was struck by deadly tornados in 2013, he immediately stepped up to organize fundraising efforts. In an interview with NBC News, he shared his love for the town, telling Brian Williams, “It’s the reason I never moved to Nashville. It’s home. I tried to live other places and always just came back here.”

The suspect was arrested Monday and for first-degree manslaughter and multiple counts of leaving the scene of an injury accident.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.