What We Know About the Kalamazoo Cycling Fatalities, Tuesday, June 7.

By Tom Demerly for tomdemerly.com

CRASH

Nine adult cyclists, both male and female, were struck by a blue Chevrolet pick-up truck at approximately 6:36 PM on Tuesday, June 7 near Markin Glen Park outside Kalamazoo, Michigan. Five of the victims were declared dead at the scene according to reports from WOOD TV 8 Live.

In a press conference held at 11:00 PM Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Gedding told reporters the cyclists were “All adults, both male and female, and were riding together in a group”. According to witnesses the cyclists were riding north bound on the right side of the road and were struck from the rear. An unidentified witness told a news reporter “We didn’t see anybody walk away”.

Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Gedding delivers press conference at 11:00 PM on Tuesday, June 7 about the accident.

Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Gedding delivers press conference at 11:00 PM on Tuesday, June 7 about the crash.

Prosecutor Gedding also told reporters that in the minutes leading up to the collision with cyclists there were at least three calls made to local law enforcement agencies to report erratic or dangerous driving from the blue Chevrolet pick-up truck involved in the crash.

At 6:08 PM the area public safety agency received a phone call about the blue pick-up truck driving erratically, followed by a call at 6:13 to the local sheriff’s department and a third call to township police at 6:21 prior to the accident report at 6:36 PM. There was no on-going pursuit of the suspect vehicle at the time of the accident according to police.

accident bikes

Photos shared on Wednesday, June 8 show bikes of the crash victims.

The blue pick-up truck was recovered by police at the scene after the driver had abandoned it. The driver/suspect was apprehended by police near the accident scene and remains in custody.

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Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Gedding told reporters there was very little information he could provide about the accident pending a review of the official report as early as Thursday. Gedding said the Michigan State Police would conduct “A reconstruction of the accident” based on the report.

Names of the victims and of the driver involved will not be released by police until deemed appropriate by law enforcement.

Heather Walker of News 8 contributed to this Report.

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12 comments
  1. Ed B said:

    Hi tom,
    Please consider dropping the word ‘accident’ entirely from you vocabulary when referring to traffic incidents.
    It has unfortunate connotations. Use a neutral term like ‘crash’, ‘collision’, or ‘incident’, instead.
    http://azbikelaw.org/was-that-an-accident-or-a-crash/

      • Ed B, your recommend edits have been made. Thank you again Sir.

      • Ed B said:

        Thx Tom,
        it’s an incremental process but I think it can have a real effect to change the way the average person thinks about traffic deaths and injuries.

  2. ST said:

    So sad. Praying for peace and comfort for the families that lost loved ones, and also for healing for the survivors.
    I won’t judge the person who did this horrific thing, because I don’t know what happened and it’s not my place to judge. Such a tragic thing to happen.

    • Thank you for reading and for your comments ST. Appreciated. Tom D.

  3. Kyle Lane said:

    This is shocking to read but necessary to know that no matter what safety training, and precautions we take, we are vulnerable. Mitigate, mitigate mitigate and never EVER be complacent on the roads.

  4. Michael Wiedenhoeft-Wilder said:

    Every time I get on my bike to go out and ride I think about the possibility of getting hit and possibly killed by a vehicle.

    Almost every time I ride a driver gets road rage just because I’m riding safely on the side of road. I follow all the rules of the road with proper lights so I can be seen.

    There’re drivers who get so angry, they actually speed up and almost side swipe me. I can’t imagine what possesses a driver to become so enraged over me riding on the side of the road. How could anyone possibly become so deranged to want to seriously injure or kill another human being. Especially, a road biker, riding on the side of the road, do their best, to avoid impeding the path of a vehicle.

    I ride with several groups, organizations, and clubs and I’ve never seen a responsible experienced biker trying to take on a vehicle. It just doesn’t happen. Rode bikers have a saying: “If a bike and a vehicle come in contact, the vehicle always wins”.

    In this case it sounds like a few things could’ve been the cause. I’m deeply saddened to read about this horrific crash that took so many innocent lives. Seeing those bikes is devastating to look at.

    I lived in Grand Rapids for many years and have spent a lot of time in Kalamazoo. It’s a very nice town. ‘Please be kind to road bikers’.

    I live in Columbus Ohio. Columbus has passed laws to protect bikers and spends an enormous amount of money for bike lanes and signs. Columbus cares about the safety of road bikers and reducing driver road rage. Even with these safe guards we as bikers have to vigilant at all times while riding on any public roadway.

    Tom, please, post the latest updates on this story. As an avid bike rider, I’m very interested as to what was the cause behind this drivers carelessness and possible negligence. I’m suspecting from your the calls to police, reporting the drivers erratic driving, the driver was either under the influence of something or had a medical emergency. However, if the driver was having a medical emergency why would he leave the scene?

    For the sake of the innocent lives that were unfortunately lost. I hope they figure this out. If the driver broke the law. Its imperative the driver be sentenced with the stiffest penalty possible under the law.

    My sincere condolences to all the victims and their families.

    • Michael, thank you for reading and for your thoughtful comments. I truly appreciate them Sir.
      Tom D.

  5. Connie Russell said:

    I agree with Tom in using the words “crash” or “collision”. Many of us in traffic safety have written to the AP Stylebook and they now recommend not using the word “accident”. The new recommendation come out on June 1, 2016. There was nothing accidental about this. Not in the least. It minimizes what happened to these people and takes responsibility off of the guy who crashed into them. Unlike ST I will judge the guy who killed these cyclists, who injured these cyclists. My heart is with the surviving victims and their familes and with the families of the cyclists who were killed.

    • Connie, thank you for your remarks. I went back through this article and amended the use of some words to be compliant with AP Stylebook standards. Appreciated.
      Tom D.

  6. Tom Wood of Mobile, Alabama said:

    Thank you for covering this story and accepting feedback. Please continue to follow the prosecution of this murderer.

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