December 8, 2023

A woman was charged Monday with causing the deaths of two bicyclists who were struck by her vehicle while riding in a weekend charity event in western Michigan.

Five men were struck Saturday in Ionia province during a three-day endurance ride for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The two who died were identified as Edward Erickson, 48, of Ann Arbor, and Michael Salhany, 57, of Bloomfield Hills.

Mandy Benn, of Ionia, Michigan is pictured in this photo from the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office.

Ionia County Sheriff’s Office

Mandy Benn, 43, charged by operating while intoxicated causing death and other crimes. It was not immediately known if he still has an attorney.

Prosecutor Kyle Butler said Benn was trying to pass a UPS truck on a rural road Saturday when she crossed the center line and struck the cyclists.

She had no alcohol in her system but had slurred speech and could not follow directions, Butler said.

There are indications he was using prescription drugs, he said.

“People want to believe that bicyclists can protect themselves by wearing the right protective gear, using the right lights or riding the right way,” said Matt Penniman of the League of Michigan Bicyclists. “None of that was enough to protect these riders and victim blaming is never appropriate.”

WWMT Reports Ben is being held on a $1 million cash bond in the Ionia County Jail.

This is the second time Ben has appeared in court on charges of operating while intoxicated, the sheriff’s office said.

Benn is scheduled to appear in court again on Aug. 8, according to Ionia District Court records.

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