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9 Victims Identified After Pickup Plows Into Bicyclists In Michigan

A group of bicyclists were struck by a pickup truck driver Tuesday near Kalamazoo, killing five. The names of the victims were released Wednesday.

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Five people were killed and four others seriously injured Tuesday in a hit-and-run crash near Kalamazoo, Michigan, when the driver of a pickup truck plowed through nine bicyclists riding along the side of a road, authorities said.

The driver, who was identified only as a 50-year-old man from west Michigan, was taken into custody by police a short distance from the blue pickup truck, which became disabled after slamming into the group of bicyclists.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Kalamazoo Prosecutor's office released the names of the victims of the crash.

The five cyclists who died at the scene were identified as Debra Ann Bradley, 53, of Augusta, Melissa Ann Fevig-Hughes, 42, of Augusta, Fred Nelson, 73, of Kalamazoo, Larry John Paulik, 74, of Kalamazoo, and Suzanne Joan Sippel, 56, of Augusta.

The four other riders who suffered serious injuries were identified as Paul Douglas Gobble, 47, of Richland, Sheila Diane Jeske, 53, of Richland, Jennifer Lynn Johnson, 40, of Kalamazoo, and Paul Lewis Runnels, 65, of Richland.

According to the Kalamazoo Gazette, all nine victims of the crash were members of a cycling group called the Chain Gang, who were taking part in a 28-mile ride when they were struck. Despite earlier reports, no children were injured in the incident.

The crash happened just after 6:30 p.m. in Cooper Township, Kalamazoo County Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey Getting said, but local authorities had received at least three calls about the blue pickup truck in the minutes before the crash.

Getting would not say what the three calls made to local law enforcement reported, but noted they were made at 6:08, 6:13, and 6:21 p.m.

Fifteen minutes later, Getting said officials received a call that multiple bicyclists had been hit and injured.

One witness, Markus Eberhard, told WOOD-TV he was nearly struck by the truck just before it plowed into the bicyclists.

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"Before I could say, 'Watch out,' to the bikers, it happened," he said. "I saw a bunch of bikes hit the front of his truck and a couple of them flew."

The blue truck came up behind the group during the crash, officials said, causing enough damage to the vehicle to render it inoperable.

On Wednesday morning, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder issued a statement offering his condolences to the families of the victims, and stating that the state police would "provide all the resources they can to help determine what exactly happened last night."

What we know for certain is that Michiganders as a family are in mourning as #Kalamazoo struggles to understand another senseless tragedy.

Snyder was referencing a deadly mass shooting back in Kalamazoo back in February, which left six dead in the same community.

Kalamazoo Strong, an organization that was created after the February shooting to offer support to the victims and the community of the deadly shooting, organized a "Ride of Silence" Wednesday to honor the victims of the crash.

The organization is also accepting donations for the victims and relatives of the 9 victims.

The crash is being investigated by the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Department.

Michigan State Police, the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Department and Kalamazoo Township police did not return requests for additional information from BuzzFeed News.

Salvador Hernandez is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Salvador Hernandez at salvador.hernandez@buzzfeed.com.

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