Michigan man charged with killing 5 cyclists now facing 14 charges

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Michigan Man Faces Over a Dozen Charges in Deaths of 5 Cyclists

June 22 (Reuters) - A Michigan driver charged with murder in the deaths of five cyclists is also being charged with five counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death, Kalamazoo County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Getting said on Wednesday.

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In addition, Charles Edward Pickett Jr. was charged with four counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing serious injury related to four additional cyclists who were hurt in the same June 7 car crash, bringing to 14 the total number of charges against him.

Getting said Pickett was under the influence of a controlled substance at the time of the crash. He did not elaborate.

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Michigan Bicyclists Killed In Hit-And-Run
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Michigan Bicyclists Killed In Hit-And-Run
A makeshift memorial shown on June 8, 2016 with a cross and flower bouquet were left here on northbound North Westnedge Avenue north of Kalamazoo, where five bicyclists were killed and four were injured on June 7, 2016. (Robert Allen/Detroit Free Press/TNS via Getty Images)
Cyclists Bob Strader, left, of Texas Township, and Carolyn and Bill Burns from Portage, stop by the scene on June 8, 2016 morning to pay respects on North Westnedge Avenue north of Kalamazoo after five cyclists were killed and four were injured Tuesday night. The group that stopped by the scene is with a Portage bicycling club. (Robert Allen/Detroit Free Press/TNS via Getty Images)
Tire tread marks are visible on June 8, 2016 on northbound North Westnedge Avenue north of Kalamazoo where five bicyclists were killed and four were injured Tuesday, June 7, 2016. (Robert Allen/Detroit Free Press/TNS via Getty Images)
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The cyclists were struck along the shoulder of a road in Cooper Township, 45 miles (72 km) south of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Five of the cyclists were pronounced dead at the scene.

Pickett, 50, was originally charged with five counts of second-degree murder and four counts of reckless driving. He faces life in prison on each murder charge. Getting told a news conference that four of the charges announced on Wednesday would replace the four reckless driving charges.

A judge on Wednesday ordered Pickett to undergo a competency exam at the request of his attorney. A preliminary hearing that was scheduled for later this month has been postponed as a result.

An attorney for Pickett could not immediately be reached. (Reporting by Justin Madden in Chicago; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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