( 4UMF NEWS ) Pickup Truck Fatally Runs Over Five Bicyclists:
Five bicyclists were killed Tuesday night and four others seriously injured after a pickup plowed into a group of bicyclists north of Kalamazoo, police said.
In the minutes before the bicyclists were hit, police were actively looking for the pickup as they had gotten three separate calls from concerned citizens that the driver was driving erratically, police said.
Police said the driver, a 50-year-old West Michigan resident, was in custody and a decision on possible charges would be likely on Thursday.
The five victims were pronounced dead at the scene, police said. Two of the people involved in the crash are being treated at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, said a spokeswoman, Carolyn Wyllie, who declined to disclose any more details.
Names of the driver and victims were not released as police were still notifying families late Tuesday. All were adults, who apparently were riding together northbound on North Westnedge Avenue when they were struck from behind.
“There is very little I can or will tell you about how exactly this accident happened,” said Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting. He said not all families had been notified and he did not want facts about the scene reaching families through the news media.
“I can’t even begin to imagine what they’re going through,” Getting said.
As calls about the erratic driving of the truck came in to, the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, the sheriff’s department and the Kalamazoo Township Police Department, officers from each agency dispatched officers to try to find the truck.
“This was a moving target,” Getting said.
The crash occurred before they found the truck, Getting said; he asserted that there was no pursuit in progress at the time of the crash.
Tuesday evening, the road was shut down and clogged with dozens of emergency vehicles. Concerned neighbors looked on in horror as word of the tragedy circulated.
Markus Eberhard said he often goes fishing at the location and was walking out of a store when “someone, I don’t know who, told me watch out and I jumped back. The truck went past my foot — almost hit my foot, and I looked, and before I could tell the bikers to move, it was too late. I already heard a bunch of bikes hit his front end.”
Eberhard said the vehicle was a blue Chevy Silverado 2500.
The prosecutor acknowledged that the mass-casualty incident, coming 3½ months after six people were killed in the Kalamazoo shootings, was hard on the community.
“I’m at a loss to describe how I feel about the impact to the community,” Getting said, but he added, “I have every confidence in Kalamazoo and in Kalamazoo County and I know how the community will respond.
“I just wish we had had more of an opportunity to get our feet under us before we had to do it again.”
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