Tragedy enveloped a community Tuesday when a pickup truck driver plowed into a group of cyclists near Kalamazoo, Michigan, killing five people and injuring four others. The driver fled the scene on foot, but the law caught up and threw the book at him.
According to the Detroit Free Press, 50-year-old Charlie E. Pickett is not only facing four counts of reckless driving but also five counts of second-degree murder.
While Pickett's motive was not revealed, second-degree murder charges are lobbied when it's believed someone intentionally killed someone else because of a spur-of-the-moment decision or they engaged in reckless conduct that resulted in someone else's death out of a severe disregard for the preservation of other people's lives.
Surprisingly, Pickett has no record of criminal behavior or traffic violations. Attempts by another news outlet to interview his family at their home resulted in the news crew getting chased by a front loader — similar to a bulldozer — shouted at and followed as they drove away.
The cyclists hit were part of a regular riding group, and those killed were between the ages of 42 and 74. Numerous prayer services and memorials have been held in their honor and in support of loved ones.
A note at the crash site read, “God give you the peace and strength in the days to come. Ride on, friends, on the roads of Heaven.”