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NTSB report says better communication between agencies could have prevented bike tragedy

NTSB report points to communication problems among agencies before bike tragedy

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A new report from the National Transportation Safety Board says that better communication between agencies that responded to 9-1-1 calls before the Kalamazoo biking tragedy, could have prevented the crash.

The report, which was adopted last week, makes reference to "a serious problem with communication among the agencies that received 911 notifications concerning pre-crash actions by the driver involved in the crash."

The driver, Charles Pickett Jr., has been charged with five counts of murder, five counts of driving while intoxicated and four counts of reckless driving.

Pickett is accused of hitting nine bicyclists with a truck on June 7, 2016. Five of the bicyclists died and four were critically wounded.

The NTSB report lays out an approximately 20 minute timeline from when the first call came in at approximately 6:07 p.m., that evening, to when the crash occurred, at approximately 6:29.

In total, 22 minutes passed between the initial 911 call (6:07 p.m.) reporting the erratic driver and the crash with the cyclists (6:29 p.m.). During that period, the driver of the pickup truck traveled approximately 14 miles, passing through the three law enforcement agencies’ adjoining jurisdictions.

The report points out that while all calls were received at the Kalamazoo integrated dispatch center, the NTSB investigation took issue with the fact that "each agency’s dispatcher operates independently within the center, and there is no unified command structure for the dispatchers."

The report concludes that the tragedy could have been prevented if the agencies had more effectively shared 9-1-1 information related to the erratic behavior and route of the driver.

Newschannel 3 will continue to follow this story as it develops.

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