The driver of a pickup truck struck a group of cyclists on Saturday during a bicycle race in Show Low, Ariz., Seriously injuring six people before the driver fled and was shot by police, authorities said .
The driver of the truck, a black Ford Super Duty, struck cyclists during the Bike the Bluff race at around 7:25 a.m. local time, police said.
Officers attempted to stop the driver, which “ultimately resulted in the suspect being shot,” about a mile away, Navajo County Emergency Management and Preparedness said in a statement.
The driver, a 35-year-old man, was in critical but stable condition, the agency said.
Six people were taken to hospital. Four were in critical condition and two were in critical but stable condition, police said. Two or three other victims entered the hospital, police said.
“Our community is shocked by this incident, and our hearts and prayers are with the injured and their families at this time,” the county emergency management agency said.
Tony Quinones, 55, of Santa Fe, New Mexico, said he had been riding for about six minutes with other riders aged 55 and over when a black pickup truck was driving in the opposite direction. crossed three lanes and headed towards the cyclists.
He assumed the driver was turning in a parking lot.
Instead, he said, the driver raced directly at the cyclists who had preceded Mr. Quinones in what he described as a targeted attack.
“I don’t know who the hell this guy is or what his motive was,” Mr Quinones said in an interview on Saturday. “But he didn’t intentionally go left into a parking lot. He drove his truck directly and intentionally into our group, and you could hear him speeding up until he hit that telephone pole.
He said he saw bikes and bodies flying.
After the driver hit a telephone pole, he said, the cyclists ran towards the truck and started banging on the windows, yelling for the driver to get out.
But rather than stop, the driver stepped on the accelerator and backed up, walked down the road, turned around and then walked towards the cyclists, he said.
Mr Quinones said he feared the truck would hit cyclists again, but rushed past.
Mr Quinones said by then he had already called 911 and saw a cyclist, whom he had shaken hands with a few minutes earlier, on the ground, bleeding and seriously injured.
Mike Godwin, owner of Cycle Mania bike shop at Show Low with his wife Carol, said he was supporting the bikers early in the race when the rider collided with riders from the male masters group.
The driver struck the runners in the first mile and a half of the racetrack, which follows a freeway, he said.
Cars are allowed on the road with bikers during the race, he said. He said he did not know who was affected but that the crash rocked the local cycling community.
“Everyone is quite solemn and upset, that’s understandable,” said Mr. Godwin, a sponsor of the race. “No one knows exactly what happened.”
The crash and shooting occurred during the 13th annual Bike the Bluff Race, which follows a 58-mile course through eastern Arizona. A race official referred the questions to officials in the town of Show Low.
Show Low is a town of about 11,000 people, about 180 miles northeast of Phoenix.