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Truck driver crashes into cyclists, kills 5 outside Las Vegas

Five cyclists were killed Thursday morning when they were struck by a box truck on a freeway outside of Las Vegas, authorities said.

The crash happened at 9:39 a.m. as a group of about 20 cyclists rode on the shoulder of the US 95 at mile marker 36 in Clark County, just north of Searchlight, Nevada, according to Nevada Highway Patrol.

The pickup truck left the roadway and struck the group from behind, then struck a Subaru sedan accompanying the cyclists and another group of cyclists in front of the Subaru, the highway patrol said.

In addition to the five cyclists killed, four people were injured, including one who was in critical condition, according to Private Jason Buratczuk, a spokesman for the highway patrol.

Private Travis Smaka, another spokesman for the highway patrol, said investigators were unsure what caused the driver to sink into the cyclists. The driver of the covered truck remained at the crash scene and cooperated with the investigation, Private Smaka said.

Investigators do not believe the driver was impaired by alcohol or drugs, he said, and no charges have been laid as the investigation continues.

Authorities did not release the names of those killed or the name of the driver. The speed limit on this part of the highway is 75 mph

Clay Weeks, who works at Pro Cyclery, a bicycle store in Las Vegas, said he knew some of the riders who were in the group, including a mechanic who works at the store who was unharmed but “very emotionally injured.”

He said the group made a 155-mile drive that was to take them from the M Resort Spa Casino in Henderson, Nevada, to Searchlight and back when they were struck by the truck.

He said the group was celebrating the recent retirement of one of the runners from a California police force.

It‘s a road that would be generally safe,” Weeks said. “The shoulder is very wide to ride over there. It is not a narrow and incomplete road.

He said news of the crash quickly passed through the tight-knit cycling community.

“Everyone is devastated,” he said. “Hopefully this will open their eyes to people and make them more vigilant of cyclists on the road, because this stuff happens too often in the community.

Bike rides make up just 1% of all trips in the United States, but cyclists are more prone to crash-related injuries and deaths than people in cars and trucks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that more pedestrians and cyclists were killed in 2018 in the United States than in any year since 1990.

The number of pedestrians killed increased by 3.4% in 2018, to 6,283, and the number of cyclists killed increased by 6.3%, to 857, even as the total number of road fatalities decreased, a indicated the agency. On average, around 17 pedestrians and two cyclists were killed in crashes every day.