Cyclist continues to recover after Kalamazoo County hit-and-run

PLAINWELL, Mich. — Matthew Sides and his friends were having a good time riding their bikes last week in Alamo Township. He said it was a nice, clear night to be out and they were prepared for the late-night ride. Their bikes were covered with flashing lights.

“I saw a car come onto the road we were on,” said Sides during an interview at his home. “So I hollered up to everybody ‘car back’ and we all singled out.”

They rode in a straight line on Sixth Street he said. Seconds after crossing Ravine, a pick-up truck got close  behind and hit them. Sides and fellow cyclist Andrea Fore went down.

“I was just going to look again to see how close the car was when he hit me,” said Sides. “Then I just remember flying through the air and tumbling around and skidding to a stop in the road.”

While lying on the road, Sides said he immediately thought about his body and if he was going to be OK. He wondered if he’d be able to ride again.

“I just remember the impact and going backwards,” said Sides.  “Seeing another [car] coming up the road, I scootched out of the road as fast as I could on my back.”

People in the neighborhood ran over to check on him and the other cyclists, he said. Sides doesn’t remember seeing the vehicle but one of his friends saw the car's taillights leaving the scene.

“I remember hearing it drive away,” said Sides about the pick-up truck. “I didn’t black out or anything but when I did start looking around, I was looking for people. And then  that’s when I noticed I heard the vehicle continuing on.”

Sheriff Richard Fuller with Kalamazoo County said they’re still looking for the driver and his pick-up truck. Specifically, they’re looking for a dark-colored pick-up truck with front-end damage and possibly a missing headlight.

“Ultimately, somebody’s going to know," said Sheriff Fuller at the department.  "Somebody’s going to see this truck. Somebody’s going to have done some work to the truck for the driver. And we want people to understand we’re looking for this truck.”

The Sheriff’s department is asking for the public’s help in looking for the vehicle. Sheriff Fuller said it’s too early in the investigation to tell the if the circumstances in this crash mirror what happened in June, when a truck hit a group of cyclists on Westnedge Avenue, killing five of them.

“Could’ve been a distraction,” said Fuller. “Could’ve been a medical issue. Could’ve been a lot of different things. But we won’t know that until we get to that driver."

Sides said he isn’t angry he was hit. He suffered a few scrapes and bruises and has a  small fracture in his spine. He just wants more drivers to be cautious on the road. And he’s itching to get back out there.

“That's one of the things I like to do,” said Sides. “Haven’t had too many mishaps throughout the years. But I don’t think it’ll stop me from getting back out there.”

Anyone with information on the crash is asked to call the sheriff's office at 269-383-8748.

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