Permanent memorial planned for Kzoo cycling tragedy victims

Kalamazoo Cycling Tragedy victims
Top, left to right: Debbie Bradley and Melissa Fevig-Hughes. Bottom, left to right: Tony Nelson, Larry Paulik and Suzanne Sippel.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Plans are underway to create a permanent memorial for the nine victims of the Kalamazoo cycling tragedy.

On June 7, 2017, a pickup truck plunged into a group of cyclists. Five riders from The Chain Gang were killed, including Debbie Bradley, Melissa Fevig-Hughes, Tony Nelson, Larry Paulik and Suzanne Sippel. Another four others were seriously injured: Paul Gobble, Shiela Jeske, Jennifer Johnson and Paul Runnels.

Toni Daniels with Kalamazoo Strong says the organization is working with a local artist who understands the gravity of what happened a year ago and will be able to create a proper lasting tribute.

Mark Glen Park in Cooper Township remembering the victims of the June 7, 2016 Kalamazoo cycling tragedy when five riders were killed and four others were seriously injured. (June 6, 2017)

“A lot of great people (are) coming together to make this happen,” said Daniels.

Ghost bikes
Five new ghost bikes sit near Markin Glen Park in Cooper Township in honor of the five cyclists killed in the June 7, 2016 crash.

She said the memorial is in its infancy stages, but will include granite stone, iron artwork and nearby benches for people to sit and reflect on the lives lost. It will replace a makeshift memorial near Cooper Township’s Markin Glen Park, at the site of the deadly crash.

Kalamazoo Strong says the Kalamazoo Parks and Recreation Department has approved the project, which will be built in Markin Glen Park.

Daniels says survivors of the June 7, 2016 crash and loved ones of those who died are contributing to the planning process.

“They were all very much involved and will continue to be,” she said.