‘Ghost bikes,’ other tributes placed at scene of fatal cyclist crash

Posted at 10:47 PM, Jun 08, 2016

COOPER TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- The Kalamazoo community continues to mourn after five people were killed when a pick-up truck collided with a group of bicyclists Tuesday evening.

Four other people were injured in the crash, which happened at 6:36 p.m. Tuesday in the 5500 block of N. Westnedge Avenue in Cooper Township.

Hundreds of people stopped by the scene of the crash Wednesday to pray, leave flowers and pay their respects to the victims.   One thing that stuck out were five white "ghost bikes" standing as a memory at the crash scene.

"A ghost bike is installed or positioned at a site where a cyclist fatality has taken place, and I have never before placed more than one at one time," said Karen Dunnam, who coordinates the Michigan Ghost Bike Facebook page.

The five victims killed in the crash were identified Wednesday as Fred Anton (Tony) Nelson, 73, of Kalamazoo; Larry Paulik, 74, of Kalamazoo; Debbie Bradley, 53, of Augusta; Suzanne Sippel, 56, of Agusta; and Melissa Ann Fevig-Hughes, 42, of Augusta.

The four people who were injured were identified by officials as Paul Gobble, 47, of Richland;  Sheila Jeske, 53, of Richaland; Paul Runnels, 65, of Richland; and Jennifer Johnson, 40 of Kalamazoo.

Johnson is currently hospitalized in fair condition.  The other three victims are in serious condition.

A 50-year-old man who officials say was driving the truck that struck the bicyclists is in custody.  Sources close to the investigation have identified him as Charles Edward Pickett.

He could face charges in the case as early as Thursday, according to the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor's Office.