SHOW LOW, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Seven bicyclists taking part in a bicycle event in Show Low were seriously hurt Saturday morning when a truck plowed into them on the road.
When the driver of that truck refused to stop for police, he was shot by officers, police say. "This has been a horrible event," said Kristine Sleighter with the Show Low Police Department.
Sleighter said that around 7:25 a.m., a Ford heavy duty pickup truck crossed a lane and hit multiple bicyclists participating in the "Bike the Bluff" bicycle event.
The truck then took off, Sleighter said, and officers began a pursuit before opening fire on the driver about a mile down the road. "In the process of that pursuit he was shot," Sleighter said. The driver of the truck, a 35-year-old man, later identified by police as Shawn Michael Chock from White Mountain Lakes, was taken to the hospital in critical but stable condition.
Seven bicyclists suffered serious injuries and were taken to the hospital. Four of them are in critical condition, and two of them are in critical but stable condition. Two of those victims were airlifted to a trauma center in the Phoenix area. Several other bicyclists reportedly suffered minor injuries. DPS will be investigating.
"Our community is shocked at this incident and our hearts and prayers are with the injured and their families at this time," said Sleighter.
Sleighter said the "Bike the Bluffs" event is an annual bike ride along a 58-mile course. This year, 270 people were registered. "It's always been a wonderful event," she said.
Jorge de La Torre, who works at a nearby restaurant, saw it happen. "“A truck appeared, with one individual, a Ford," he recalled. "It ran them over.”
Neighbors say were startled by what happened. Show Low resident Shery Ehmann was outside watering plants Saturday morning when she saw the police cars in the are, then heard gunfire. “I saw one cop car, and then one and two and three more came in, lights were on," she said. "I knew something was going on. I went back in the house, and said something’s happening in the neighborhood; I’m not sure what’s going on. And then I heard the six or seven shots and I said, OK, we’re staying in here.”
One of the participants in the bike race says the scene looked like a war zone. "We see an entire group of men on the ground," says cyclist Jennifer Quijada. "Probably the worst sight, hopefully the worst sight I'll ever have to see."
"Their bikes were in anywhere from five to 20 pieces," Quijada continued.
She recalls everyone jumping into action to help one another. One cyclist is a nurse who began triage. Others hopped off their bikes and held IV bags. Quijada began to clear debris from the roadway so medics could arrive and treat the wounded.
Cyclists familiar with those who were injured say three remain in the hospital in bad shape. Others are home recovering. Quijada has launched a fundraiser to help the cyclists with medical expenses.
As horrific as the incident was, Quijada hopes the tragedy raises awareness to keep cyclists safe on the road. "It's everywhere now, so people who don't ride bikes are finally feeling the impact we've felt for years," says Quijada.
Again, you can click here for the GoFundMe link.
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Editors Note: Arizona's Family has removed the mention of a "mass casualty event" which was originally reported by the Timber Mesa Fire and Medical District.