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Five cyclists were killed and four more were injured after a group of riders was struck by a pickup truck in Michigan Tuesday evening.
According to multiple reports, the cyclists were riding together near Kalamazoo, located in the southwestern part of Michigan, when a blue Chevrolet pickup collided with them shortly after 6:30 p.m. Five of the riders were pronounced dead at the scene. One of the injured victims is reportedly in critical condition.
The driver, reports MLive.com, fled the scene but was caught a short time later. His truck was disabled as a result of the crash.
None of the victims’ names have been released. The driver has only been identified as a 50-year-old man from West Michigan.
The crash occurred near Markin Glen County Park, north of downtown Kalamazoo.
According to the Detroit Free Press, police received several calls from citizens a half hour before the crash about a pickup truck driving erratically in the area. Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting said police were looking for the truck at the time of the crash, but there was not a pursuit ongoing.
“There is very little I can or will tell you about how exactly this accident happened,” Getting said, reports the Free Press. “I can’t even begin to imagine what [the victims’ families are] going through.”
A witness to the crash said the truck nearly hit him before it plowed into the group of riders traveling northbound on North Westnedge Avenue.
“Someone, I don’t know who, told me watch out and I jumped back,” said Markus Eberhard, who was exiting a store at the time, according to the Free Press. “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.”
The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club’s road safety director Paul Selden said he is aware of a group that rides on Tuesday nights.
“What I have seen of these riders in the past and the way [they] organize the rides, they always were led in a safe manner,” Selden told MLive.
“I think this is one of the worst, if not the worst, bicycling-motorist accidents in the county.”