Homicide

The Latest: Man charged with murder in bicyclist deaths

The Latest on a crash that killed five bicyclists near Kalamazoo, Michigan (all times local):

3:25 p.m.

A Michigan prosecutor has charged 50-year-old Charles Edward Pickett Jr with five counts of second degree murder after a pickup truck crashed into a group of bicyclists and killed five people.

Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeffrey Getting also charged him Thursday with four counts of reckless driving resulting in serious injury to four others near Kalamazoo.

The bicyclists were part of a group that called themselves "The Chain Gang," who ranged in age from 40 to 74. They were five miles into a weekly 30-mile ride when they were struck from behind on a road in the western Michigan countryside.

Police say they had received complaints about a pickup driving erratically and were searching for it minutes before the crash.

It was not immediately known whether Pickett has an attorney.

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1 p.m.

The condition of one of four bicyclists injured in a crash that killed five others has improved.

Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo reports that Sheila Jeske has been upgraded to fair condition from serious. Paul Runnels remains in serious condition at that hospital.

Paul Gobble is in serious condition and Jennifer Johnson is in fair condition at Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo.

They were injured Tuesday evening on a country road north of Kalamazoo in Cooper Township where they were struck from behind by a pickup truck that reportedly had been driving erratically. The driver was a 50-year-old man who fled but was caught by police shortly afterward. He remained in custody Thursday.

County prosecutor Jeffrey S. Getting said he expected a report Thursday from the sheriff's department and other agencies that would help determine whether charges would be filed.

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2:15 a.m.

A day trip in the southwestern Michigan countryside ended tragically for a group of bicyclists when a pickup truck plowed into them.

Five were killed and four injured in the Tuesday crash.

Stunned biking enthusiasts joined relatives and friends of the riders in mourning them the next day. They left flowers, a commemorative "ghost bike" and a small wooden cross at the scene and gathered for a 5-mile "silent ride.

The driver, a 50-year-old man who fled but was caught by police shortly afterward, remained in custody Wednesday.

County prosecutor Jeffrey S. Getting said he expected a report Thursday from the sheriff's department and other agencies that would help determine whether charges would be filed.