LAS VEGAS – On a highway ride to celebrate a cyclist’s retirement, five bicyclists were killed and four others were injured in a crash involving a truck, according to authorities.
The Thursday morning crash happened on U.S. 95 south of Boulder City, according to Nevada Highway Patrol spokesman Jason Buratczuk.
Around 9:40 a.m., a box truck struck a group of about 20 bicyclists. Four men and one woman died at the scene, according to authorities.
The box truck remained at the scene for several hours after the collision, as authorities investigated what caused the crash.
“It doesn’t appear to be impairment,” Buratczuk said. “It appears to be a tragic accident.”
Of the four bicyclists injured, one of the riders was flown to a hospital in a helicopter in critical condition.
It appeared the bicyclists were part of an organized ride, Buratczuk said. They had a chase vehicle with them with flashers.
The driver of the chase vehicle was injured and transported to a hospital. The driver of the box truck was not injured.
U.S. Highway 95 southbound will be closed till about 6 p.m. Thursday, according to Nevada Department of Transportation spokesman Tony Illia.
Clay Weeks, an employee at the Pro Cyclery bike shop, knew many of the bicyclists involved in the tragic crash.
“They were on a retirement ride for one of the community cyclists,” Weeks said. “We’ve talked to a couple people who were on the ride. Obviously everybody is super upset and distraught. It’s pretty horrific that something like this would happen. There’s really no words.”
The tragedy startled Southern Nevada’s close-knit bicycling community.
“We all ride together,” Weeks said.
Weeks is familiar with the stretch of road where the crash unfolded. On Thursday, he struggled to imagine how the crash happened there.
“That shoulder on the side of that highway is wide enough to fit three cars,” Weeks said. “We don’t really know how somebody managed to get that far off the road. These were all very very experienced cyclists. It’s not like they accidentally rode off and into the road.”
It was not the first time those riders made the trip.
“These are people who ride 10,000 miles a year. Some race professionally,” Weeks said. “How did something like this mistakenly happen?”
Follow reporter Ed Komenda on Twitter: @ejkomenda
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This article originally appeared on Reno Gazette Journal: Nevada highway bike crash: 5 bicyclists killed near Boulder City