Five bicyclists were reportedly killed and four others injured when they were struck by a truck on a Nevada highway Thursday morning.
The victims were among a group of roughly 20 cyclists celebrating the retirement of a fellow rider by taking a 130-mile trip through Nevada and California, witnesses told the Reno Gazette Journal.
The cyclists were riding on the shoulder of a stretch of U.S. 95 near Boulder City when a box truck hit them from behind, authorities said.
“It’s the worst thing I could ever see in my life,” Michael Anderson, one of the cyclists, told the newspaper.
“I’ve seen stuff as a police officer in public service … when it’s your friends, I’ve never seen that,” Anderson said.
Four men and a woman died at the scene, the report said. One of the injured cyclists was hospitalized in critical condition.
The group of riders were being followed by an escort vehicle with its flashers on. But at one point, several riders fell behind the vehicle in order to avoid the windy conditions, a surviving witness said.
The driver of the escort vehicle was among the injured.
The box truck driver remained on scene and was not injured. It’s unclear what led the driver to cross onto the shoulder.
“It doesn’t appear to be impairment,” said Nevada Highway Patrol spokesman Jason Buratczuk. “It appears to be a tragic accident.”
Clay Weeks, a worker at a nearby bike shop, said the crash devastated the local cycling community.
“They were on a retirement ride for one of the community cyclists,” Weeks said.
“Obviously everybody is super upset and distraught. It’s pretty horrific that something like this would happen. There’s really no words.”