UPDATED: Group of 9 bicyclists hit by pickup truck, 5 killed
KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Newschannel 3 has learned that at least five people have been killed on North Westnedge, near Markin Glen Park, just north of Kalamazoo, after a group of bicyclists were struck from behind by a blue Chevy pickup truck.
It happened around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday evening.
All of those killed were bicyclists riding down the road when a pickup truck came up behind them, and struck the group.
In a press conference late Tuesday night, Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting reported Tuesday night that the driver is a 50-year-old male, "from West Michigan," and would not elaborate further.
There were at least nine people in all who were struck by the vehicle.
Getting says the truck was disabled as a result of the crash, and the driver of the truck was apprehended a short distance away.
Bronson Hospital has confirmed that two cyclists are being treated there at this hour, but there is no word regarding their condition.
A spokesperson for Borgess Hospital confirmed that there are two people being treated there as well. One is listed in fair condition, and one is listed in critical condition.
We do know that no children were involved in the crash, contrary to other reports.
Police were alerted to a blue pickup truck in the 30 minutes leading up to the accident, and that calls had come in to the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, Kalamazoo Township Police Department, and the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office.
Cooper Township Supervisor Jeffrey Sorensen says his heart goes out to the families of those involved.
Witnesses in the area tell us they saw the group and heard the squealing of tires.
Neighbors who spoke to Newschannel 3 say they heard a loud bang and rushed out of their homes, and soon after heard sirens and saw first responders arriving on the scene.
One man said he saw a fleeing car, and a woman told Newschannel 3 she saw mangled bicycles spread across the road.
"It's not good. I'm glad they got the guy, they caught him from running," one witness said.
Paul Selden, the Director of Road Safety for the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club, offered a statement to Newschannel 3 on Tuesday night:
I know from working closely with area leadership that we are working to make our community even more bicycle friendly. This senseless tragedy--in my memory, the worst of its kind in Kalamazoo County, and possibly in the entire State of Michigan--underscores that we can do much more. Motorists and bicyclists need to share the road safely throughout the year, but especially during peak bicycling season.
Kalamazoo Strong told Newschannel 3 Tuesday night that the group was setting up a crisis fund for victims and family members.