Hundreds of cyclists ‘Finish the Ride’ to remember 5 killed in Kalamazoo crash

Posted at 9:35 PM, Jun 07, 2017

KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- Memorials were held Wednesday to mark the one-year anniversary of the cycling tragedy that killed five people.

Nine bicyclists were hit by a pickup truck driving erratically along a rural road in Cooper Township on June 7, 2016. Five of the cyclists -- Debbie Bradley, Melissa Fevig-Hughes, Tony Nelson, Larry Paulik and Suzanne Sippel-- were killed.

Led by four of the Chain Gang bicycle club members who survived the crash, roughly 300 other bicyclists rode Wednesday to remember those who weren't able to ride with them. They completed the route that the cyclists weren't able to a year ago.

"I think in some way we want to do this for the first responders who were there so they can see how far we have come, and it's only because they did a phenomenal job that night," said crash survivor Jennifer Johnson. "I can't imagine another scenario. I am so grateful."

5 victims killed in bicycle crash.

Johnson, Paul Runnels, Sheila Jeske and Paul Gobble have been working tirelessly in physical therapy to heal, and say the memories from that tragic night are still hard to recall.

"I remember bits and pieces on the side of the road," Johnson said. "I remember first responders over me, a little from the ambulance. It's just in and out little memories."

Many people celebrated the four survivors' resilience and strength over the past year.

"It's great to see them out on their bikes," said original Chain Gang founder Mark Rose. "I know they have been through a lot and they still have to go through a lot."

Donations to the Kalamazoo Strong organization will go toward a memorial they want to make for the survivors and victims of the crash.