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Five bicyclists hit by SUV in Ionia County, sheriff says

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Two bicyclists were dead and three hospitalized with "severe injuries" after they were hit by an SUV in Ionia County Saturday morning, the Ionia County Sheriff's Office said.

The bike riders were hit by an SUV that crossed the centerline as its driver was trying to pass another vehicle, according to the sheriff's office.

Seven emergency response agencies were deployed to the scene, police said, and "it was immediately discovered to be a vehicular mass-casualty incident."

Police said the riders were part of the Wish-a-Mile bicycle tour to raise money for Make-A-Wish Michigan. The tour's website says that for more than three decades, "riders have shown up year after year to raise vital funds needed to create transformational wishes for Michigan children with critical illnesses."

The Ionia County Sheriff's Office said the SUV driver was arrested on two counts of operating while intoxicated causing death.

The sheriff's office said Saturday evening that it was not releasing the names of the bike riders, "with ongoing efforts to ensure their family members are given ample opportunity for notification of death or injury." The driver was also not named "pending formal charges and arraignment."

Michigan traffic fatalities have been climbing since 2018 and reached a 16-year high last year, with more than 1,100 people dying on the state's roads, according to Michigan State Police.

Brett joined Michigan Radio in December 2021 as an editor.
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