Five bicyclists are dead and several were injured after a box truck hit their group Thursday in a “horrific tragedy” that unfolded outside of Las Vegas, authorities said.
A group of cyclists were riding and had a Subaru hatchback “safety car” assigned to trail them when they were hit about 9:30 a.m. on southbound U.S. Highway 95 near Mile Marker 36, according to Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Travis Smaka.
A southbound truck “entered into the group of bicyclists, some of them were traveling behind the safety vehicle, they were struck, the safety vehicle was also struck as well as some the bicyclists in front of the safety vehicle,” Smaka said.
The five cyclists were pronounced dead at the scene, south of Boulder City and north of Searchlight. One bicyclist suffered critical injuries and was airlifted to University Medical Center, officials said.
The Clark County Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner said all five victims are Las Vegas residents and identified them Friday afternoon as: Erin Michelle Ray, 39; Michael Todd Murray, 57; Aksoy Ahmet, 48; Thomas Chamberlin Trauger, 57; and Gerrard Suarez Nieva, 41.
The four men and one woman were called accident victims who died from “multiple blunt force injuries,” according to the coroner’s office.
The uninjured truck driver remained on the scene, cooperated with investigators, and impairment does not appear to be an issue, officials said.
A long stretch of southbound Highway 95 was closed soon after and not reopened until about 3:15 p.m. on Thursday, according to the Department of Transportation.
“It’s a horrific tragedy,” Smaka said. “When you have a beautiful sunny day like it is today and we’ve just lost the lives of five people, it’s just a horrible tragedy. I can’t think of anything more profound to say than that.”
Highway 95 is a well-traveled thoroughfare of southern Nevada, often used by locals to get to Laughlin or Lake Havasu.
“I was devastated to hear this news this morning,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said in a statement. “Kathy and I are sending all our love to the families affected and to those on the scene responding to the situation.”