Five Cyclists Killed in Michigan: What Happened

Five cyclists near Kalamazoo were killed by a pickup truck driver. Credit: LIONEL BONAVENTURE / GETTY

Five cyclists were pronounced dead, and four others injured after what is being called, “one of the worst, if not the worst, bicycling-motorist accidents in the county.” According to official reports, nine cyclists were struck by a blue Chevrolet pickup truck just after 6:30 p.m. in a hit-and-run crash in Cooper Township, Michigan, near Kalamazoo. Police received complaints of a pickup driving erratically just minutes before he slammed into the group of bicyclists. The driver, a 50-year-old man from West Michigan, was found a short distance away by police officers and is currently in custody.

Authorities aren’t providing many answers in the hours following the crash. "There is very little I can or will tell you about how exactly this accident happened," Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting said during a town hall meeting on Tuesday night. "A determination as to any charges arising out of this incident will be made, likely, on Thursday."

“It doesn’t matter if it’s somebody texting or if it’s someone who was drinking or someone who wasn’t paying attention, it still is very sad. I mean, what can we do?” Cooper Township Supervisor Jeffrey Sorensen, said at the scene of the crime.

While many questions remain about whether the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the police and county prosecutor aren't releasing any details yet. "I can tell you that there was evidence from the suspect that will be analyzed by the Michigan State Police to determine what, if any, substance the suspect was under the influence of," said Getting.

UPDATE: On Thursday June 9, Getting announced that the driver, Charles Pickett Jr., will face five counts of second-degree murder and four counts of reckless driving causing serious impairment.