KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — Lance Armstrong plans to be in Kalamazoo for a “Finishing the Ride” event in honor of the five cyclists killed when they were hit by a pickup truck.
Armstrong said he couldn’t believe it when he heard about the collision on June 7 in Kalamazoo County’s Cooper Township, 160 miles from Chicago, that also left four others injured. Armstrong plans to join Kalamazoo-area cyclists in a 28.5-mile ride Tuesday from Kalamazoo to Plainwell and back.
“For me, this is pretty heavy, thinking the fact that we’re going to complete the ride that they set out to is, I’m not sure that I’m equipped for that emotionally,” Armstrong told the Detroit Free Press.
He said all cyclists share a fear of being struck by a vehicle.
The 50-year-old driver of the pickup, Charles Pickett Jr. of Battle Creek, appeared in court Friday on second-degree murder charges and other crimes. He was ordered held without bond, and an attorney will be appointed to represent him.
The bicyclists were part of a group that called themselves “The Chain Gang.” Killed in the crash were Debra Bradley, 53; Melissa Fevig-Hughes, 42; Fred Nelson, 73; Lorenz Paulik, 74; and Suzanne Sippel, 56. The injured bicyclists were Paul Gobble, 47; Sheila Jeske, 53; Jennifer Johnson, 40; and Paul Runnels, 65.
Armstrong confessed in 2013 to doping to win the Tour de France seven times.