Battle Creek Riders Reflect On Tragedy Before Riding | Michigan News
By TRACE CHRISTENSON, Battle Creek Investigator
BATTLE, Creek, Mich. (AP) – On one of the first group bike tours in over a year, about 50 people remembered a bicycle tragedy five years ago.
“Be careful and have a lot of fun and think about the people who are not here with us,” said Mike Wood ahead of Tuesday night’s Mike’s Team Active Bikes race.
Wood, owner of the downtown Battle Creek store, was one of some 50 people who gathered for a weekly walk; something they were prevented from doing last year because of COVID-19, according to the Battle Creek Enquirer.
“The word ‘group’ was a bad word you couldn’t pronounce,” he said.
The weekly hike was the third time in two weeks that cyclists had gathered for a group event. Prior to their departure, Wood reminded them that five years earlier, on June 7, 2016, five people were killed and four seriously injured when a pickup truck driven by a man from Battle Creek struck cyclists on a recreational ride. weekly north of Kalamazoo. .
“I want to welcome everyone,” Wood said on Tuesday, June 8. “It was five years ago yesterday that we had a horrible accident and a lot of friends I know and a lot of you know the people involved.
“I know they are looking down and very happy that life goes on and that we are doing what they love,” said Wood.
– Debbie Bradley, 53, from Augusta.
– Suzanne Joan Sippel, 56, from Augusta.
– Lorenz John “Larry” Paulik, 74, of Kalamazoo.
– Fred Anton “Tony” Nelson, 73, of Kalamazoo.
– Melissa Ann Fevig Hughes, 42, from Augusta.
Paul Gobble, Jennifer Johnson, Paul Runnels and Sheila Jeske survived the crash.
Wood said he knew all nine riders and that his wife taught two of his family members at schools in Gull Lake.
“I knew them all and it hit really close to home,” said Wood. “The world has gotten really small. “
Wood said many Battle Creek cyclists knew the victims and some were unaffected by the crash, including cyclists who no longer rode road bikes.
“It’s going to be a part of me,” Wood said before the ride.
Pickup driver Charles Pickett, Jr., of Battle Creek, was convicted by a Kalamazoo County jury of 14 counts, including second degree murder, operating under the influence of drugs causing death and operation under the influence of drugs causing serious injury.
Pickett, 55, was sentenced on June 11, 2016 to 40 to 75 years in prison and is not eligible for parole until 2056. He is being held at the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater.
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