Man charged in deaths of 5 bicyclists sent to trial

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Charles Pickett Jr.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — A man who plowed into a group of bicyclists with his pickup truck, killing five, has been ordered to stand trial on second-degree murder charges in southwestern Michigan.

A judge in Kalamazoo County found enough evidence Monday against Charles Pickett Jr. A state police scientist says blood tests after the June 7 crash revealed drugs, including painkillers and methamphetamine.

Sgt. Darien Smith testified that Pickett was slurring his words and “seemed completely out of it” when officers arrived. Five bicyclists were killed and four others injured when they were hit from behind on a rural road in Cooper Township.

Pickett is charged with second-degree murder and other crimes. Defense attorney Alan Koenig says Pickett didn’t intend to hurt anyone. He calls it a tragedy.

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