Prayer service held for victims of Kalamazoo County bicycle crash

Posted at 9:42 PM, Jun 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-09 22:39:48-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- After a devastating crash left five bicyclists dead and four others injured, support has been pouring in for the victims and their families.

On Thursday, friends and family members of the victims gathered alongside total strangers for a prayer service at Grace Spring Bible Church.

"You know these tragedies can put us under a cloud of despair.  And we hope tonight can bring some healing in the midst of horribly calamity," said Grace Spring Pastor Bryan Tema.

The crash happened at about 6:36 p.m. in the 5500 block of N. Westnedge Avenue in Cooper Township.

The five victims who were killed were identified Wednesday as Fred Anton (Tony) Nelson, Larry Paulik, Debbie Bradley, Suzanne Sippel and Melissa Ann Fevig-Hughes.

The four people who were injured were identified by officials as Paul Gobble, Sheila Jeske, Paul Runnels and Jennifer Johnson.

Johnson and Jeske are currently hospitalized in fair condition.  The other two victims are in serious condition.

Charles Edward Pickett Jr., the driver who police say struck the bicyclists with a pick-up truck, is facing five counts of second-degree murder and four counts of reckless driving causing serious injury.

The Kalamazoo Growlers also announced Thursday that they will be holding a fundraiser for the victims of the crash.   "Kalamazoo Strong Night" is scheduled for Friday, June 24.   Funds raised during the game will benefit both the crash victims and the victims of the Feb. 20 mass shooting in Kalamazoo.