Kalamazoo Driver That Killed 5 Cyclists Was On Pain Meds

By Jim Liao, Epoch Times
July 14, 2016 Updated: July 14, 2016

A Michigan man who ran his pickup truck into nine bicyclists, killing five, had taken over a dozen pain pills and muscle relaxers two hours prior to the crash, new reports say.

Charles Pickett Jr., 50, was charged in the June 7 incident with five counts of operating while intoxicated causing death, five counts of second-degree murder, and faces four charges of operating while intoxicated causing serious injury.

At the time of the crash, police found marijuana, methamphetamine, beer, and liquor in his truck.

A new report, obtained July 13th by the Kalamazoo Gazette from the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office under the Freedom of Information Act, confirms that Pickett took the pain reliever Tramadol and the muscle relaxer Flexeril less than two hours before the accident.

In the report, Picket’s girlfriend told police that the man had been acting erratically the weekend prior to the crash. The girlfriend, whose name was not released, said that Pickett was afraid that she would leave him, and thus took measures such as sleeping in front of the door in the hotel room they were staying at. 

When Pickett was spotted in the hotel room hours prior in the crash, he reportedly downed 16 to 20 Flexeril pills and 10 Tramadol pills one after another with Mountain Dew.

When his girlfriend reprimanded him, saying that he had to drive, the man replied “I’ve taken this much before,” and then said, “I’d be better off dead.”

Pickett’s next hearing is scheduled for Aug.31.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash, where the man was cited driving 58mph in a 35 mph zone. The cyclists, members of the Chain Gain bicycle group, were five miles into their weekly 30-mile ride when they were struck from behind on a two-lane road.