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5 Charges of 2nd Degree Murder in Kalamazoo Bike Crash

Jennifer Jussell6 months ago

Charles Pickett Jr., 50, of Battle Creek, was charged with five charges of 2nd degree murder last week for crashing his truck into nine cyclists, killing five and injuring four. 

About the Fatal Bicycle Accident

According to reports, Pickett was driving his pickup truck on North Westnedge Avenue near Marken Glen County Park in Cooper Township around 6:30 p.m. last Tuesday when he struck nine bicyclists from behind. 

The five people killed were Debra Ann Bradley, 53, of Augusta; Melissa Ann Fevig-Hughes, 42, of Augusta; Fred Anton “Tony” Nelson, 73, of Kalamazoo, Lorenz John “Larry” Paulik, 74, of Kalamazoo, and Suzanne Joan Sippel, 56, of Augusta. 

The four bikers suffering serious injuries were 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. Johnson was hospitalized in fair condition, while Gobble, Jeske, and Runnels were in serious condition. 

Charles Pickett Jr. was driving a truck registered to his father, Charles Pickett Sr., at the time. Secretary of State records show that Pickett's driving record in Michigan had previously been clean with no violations. 

Police submitted their reports today to Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting today, authorizing the charges for 5 counts of 2nd degree murder. An arraignment should be held sometime later this week due to health complications with Pickett. 

National Auto Accident Statistics

The following information was provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • 32,719 people were killed in auto accidents in the United States in 2012 – a slight decrease from the 33,782 deaths reported in 2012.
  • Of those killed in 2012:
  • 2,313,000 additional people were injured in auto accidents in 2013.

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