KALAMAZOO (WWJ) – The Kalamazoo County prosecutor has filed murder charges against the alleged driver of a pickup truck that plowed into a group of bicyclists, killing five of them and seriously injuring four others.
Fifty-year-old Charles Pickett Jr. is charged with five counts of second degree murder and four counts of reckless driving.READ MORE: Study Suggests Replacing Michigan's Fuel Tax With Mileage-Based User Fees
“We have nine charges, there are five charges of second degree murder,” said Jeffrey Getting Kalamazoo County prosecutor. “Specifically what we are alleging is that the defendant Charles Edward Pickett Jr. acted in wanton and willful disregard of the likelihood that the natural tendency of his actions would cause death or great bodily harm.”
The bicyclists were part of a group that called themselves “The Chain Gang.”READ MORE: Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy Seeks Additional Funding To Investigate LGBTQ Hate Crimes
“We have five families here who are suffering an incredible loss – we have four people who are struggling in the hospital to recover from this serious injuries. The focus, rightly, should be on them and helping them,” added Getting.
Authorities said Wednesday that 53-year-old Debra Ann Bradley of Augusta; 42-year-old Melissa Ann Fevig-Hughes of Augusta; 73-year-old Fred Anton Nelson of Kalamazoo; 73-year-old Lorenz John Paulik of Kalamazoo and 56-year-old Suzanne Joan Sippel of Augusta died at the scene of Tuesday evening’s crash in Cooper Township.MORE NEWS: First Monkeypox Case Confirmed In Michigan: How To Keep Your Family Safe
They were five miles into a weekly 30-mile ride in Cooper Township when they were struck from behind on Tuesday evening.