NTSB: Drugged man caused Kalamazoo crash that killed 5 bicyclists

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — Federal safety regulators have closed their investigation of a crash that killed five bicyclists in Michigan, pinning the cause on a driver impaired by drugs.

The conclusion Wednesday by the National Transportation Safety Board comes a month after it released an interim report that criticized the 911 system in the Kalamazoo area. The board said better communication between dispatchers might have alerted police to stop the driver before the crash last June.

Charles Pickett Jr.

Five cyclists were killed and four more were injured in the wreck in Kalamazoo County’s Cooper Township, 140 miles west of Detroit. Charles Pickett Jr. is facing charges of second-degree murder and driving under the influence of drugs.

NTSB Acting Chairman Robert Sumwalt says there’s been a 20 percent increase in U.S. cyclist fatalities since 2011.

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