KALAMAZOO, Mich. - A fundraiser is underway on the eve of the anniversary of a bicycling tragedy in Kalamazoo.
The Chain Gang and Kalamazoo Strong are holding the fundraiser at Arcadia Ales to raise money for a memorial statue to remember the five bicyclists killed in a crash on June 7, 2016.
The Chain Gang is a biking group that meets periodically for rides around the Kalamazoo area. The five riders, Fred Anton (Tony) Nelson, 73, of Kalamazoo; Larry Paulik, 74, of Kalamazoo; Debbie Bradley, 53, of Augusta; Suzanne Sippel, 56, of Augusta; and Melissa Ann
The five riders -- Fred Anton (Tony) Nelson, 73, of Kalamazoo; Larry Paulik, 74, of Kalamazoo; Debbie Bradley, 53, of Augusta; Suzanne Sippel, 56, of Augusta; and Melissa Ann Fevig-Hughes, 42, of Augusta -- all died when Charles Pickett, Jr., drove his pickup truck into the group on Westnedge Avenue. Pickett was allegedly under the influence of painkillers. He is awaiting trial on second-degree murder and several other charges. Paul Gobble, Sheila Jeske, Paul Runnels, and Jennifer Johnson were also injured in the crash.
Tuesday night's event will include a donation of proceeds at Arcadia Ales to the memorial project and a ride.
"We've really collectively come together," said Toni Daniels, vice president of Kalamazoo Strong, "and it's about that healing process and the next steps in the healing process, which is finishing the ride again on Wednesday and the memorial project."
For more information about the memorial ride on Wednesday, visit The Chain Gang's website.