Bicyclist hurt in hit-and-run: ‘I’m glad they made an arrest’

Posted at 10:44 PM, May 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-09 23:00:31-04

Drake Clemens, courtesy Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office.

ALAMO TOWNSHIP, Mich. – An arrest has been made in a hit-and-run crash from November 2016, that sent two bicyclists to the hospital with serious injuries.

The accused driver is 23-year-old Drake Clemens. He’s facing up to five years in prison for a number of charges including failing to stop at a crash.

One of the people injured on that bicycle ride says he’s relieved someone has been charged but he’s still struggling to know why it happened.

“Feels good that they have somebody,” says Matthew Sides. “It’s kind of discouraging to know that another human would do that do you. My wife said she didn’t see any brake lights or nothing.”

Sides was riding with three other bicyclists on North Sixth Street when police say a pick-up truck ran into two of them and kept on driving. Sides says he remembers seeing taillights but not much else. Parts of the vehicle were later found at the crash scene.

"Broke my back, fractured one of my vertebrae,” Sides said when describing his injuries from the crash. "Still a little stiff in the morning and doing certain things but I’m pretty good.”

Despite there being no witnesses to the crash, the Kalamazoo Sheriff's Department received several tips in the case, one of which led them to collaborating with the Van Buren County Sheriff's Office. Investigators say a driving-related case there helped them lead to the vehicle involved in the crash, which eventually led to the suspect.

“I think the apology, well after you’re caught it’s too late for that,” said Sides. "I think there should be some pretty good punishment. Some jail time I think would be appropriate."

The suspect, Drake Clemens is currently out on bond and is due back in court later this month.

Sides tells FOX 17 he hopes others will learn from this incident about the importance of sharing the road with cyclists.

“We’re just another vehicle sharing the road. All you have to do is show a little bit of caution and everybody can have a nice day."