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Officials: 2 cyclists dead after SUV crashes into group during Make-A-Wish race

Ionia Co Bicyclists Hit by SUV
Posted at 11:30 AM, Aug 01, 2022

IONIA TOWNSHIP, Mich. — The Make-A-Wish ride planned for Sunday was canceled after two cyclists died after being hit by a vehicle.

The Ionia County Sheriff's Office says two people died, three were hurt, and one person was arrested after an SUV crashed into a group of cyclists Saturday.

Witnesses told WXMI that a passing vehicle hit several bicycle riders.

The sheriff's office says one male cyclist was pronounced dead at the scene, and another was flown to the hospital but died from his injuries.

Deputies responded to Stage Road, north of East Nickle Plate Road, around 11:15 a.m. Saturday.

Shortly after that, Ionia County Central Dispatch issued the following statement:

"Please avoid the area of Stage Rd north of Nickleplate Rd due to a critical incident. The road will be shut down for an undetermined amount of time. I will update when it is back open."

The sheriff's office says the SUV crossed the centerline into oncoming traffic while trying to pass another vehicle on Stage Road.

Deputies say the other three cyclists who were hit were taken to the hospital with severe injuries.

The sheriff's office says the SUV driver, who hit the cyclists, was arrested for operating while intoxicated, causing death, and taken to jail after receiving medical treatment.

Deputies say the cyclists were participating in the Make-A-Wish Bicycle Tour, a three-day endurance ride covering most of the state of Michigan.

Neither the driver's nor the cyclists' names have been released, pending arraignment and family notification.

The road reopened around 4:30 p.m.

"We are deeply saddened to share that a tragic accident occurred in Ionia County today involving cyclists participating in the Make-A-Wish® Michigan 35th Annual Wish-A-Mile® (WAM) Bicycle Tour," Make-A-Wish Michigan said in a statement Saturday following the crash. "Two riders were killed, and three were injured after being struck by a car. 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. We are supporting our riders, staff, and volunteers with grief counseling and assisting with the law enforcement investigation.  The third day of our WAM 300 as well as our one-day WAM 50 and WAM Jr. scheduled for Sunday, July 31, have been canceled out of respect for the family."

This story was first reported by staff at WXMI.