RONALD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Two are dead and three were transported to the hospital with severe injuries after a crash where five cyclists with Make-A-Wish Michigan were hit by a vehicle, the sheriff’s office said.
The crash happened at 11:15 a.m. on Stage Road near Nickleplate Road in Ronald Township, the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office said. Investigation found that five cyclists were riding south on Stage Road when they were hit by a northbound SUV that had crossed the center line while trying to pass another vehicle.
When emergency responders arrived, one cyclist was pronounced dead at the scene. Another was flown by Aero Med to a hospital in Grand Rapids but later died from his injuries.
Two cyclists were taken by ambulance to an Ionia hospital and a 5th was taken by ambulance to Spectrum Butterworth. All three surviving cyclists had severe injuries, deputies said.
The driver of the vehicle was arrested for operating while intoxicated causing death. The driver received medical treatment and was booked into the Ionia County Jail. The name of the driver will not be released until charges are filed, the sheriff’s office said.
The cyclists have also not been named, but the sheriff’s office did confirm that all 5 cyclists are men from the east side of the state. They were participating in the Make-A-Wish bicycle tour called Wish-A-Mile, which covers most Michigan.
Make-A-Wish Michigan sent out a statement Saturday night, announcing that the third day of the Wish-A-Mile 300 as well as the Wish-A-Mile 50 and Wish-A-Mile Jr. that were scheduled for Sunday would be canceled out of respect for the families of those in the crash.
“Our staff and the entire Make-A-Wish family are heartbroken and offer our deepest sympathy for the riders involved, their loved ones, and all members of the WAM community during this difficult time. We are thankful to the first responders who arrived immediately to save lives,” the statement read, in part.
The foundation said it would be offering grief counseling for its riders, staff and volunteers as well as helping with the police investigation.
Stage Road was closed for some time following the crash but opened back up Saturday afternoon.