Tonight, on the cusp of the 88th Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic, the cycling community is shaken after one of the premier foreign teams, Team Starlight was plowed down en masse on the western highway. It happened at around 9:30 when a pickup, driven by 74 year old Denton Hendy, knocked all of them down. 6 American cyclists, 4 males and two females were injured. The most seriously hurt is Lory Harkey, wife of former Cross Country champion Chris Harkey - who received minor injury, along with Jacqueline Flynn, David Flynn, and perennial cross country contenders Scotty Weise, and John Delong. Emanuel Pech reports.

The large crack that you see here on the windshield of this Toyota pickup, is where the head of Lory Harkey slammed into the vehicle.

This morning Lory along with her husband Christopher Harkey, and four others, were mauled by a pickup as they were riding on the George Price Highway- their last practice ride before the upcoming cross country. President of the Cycling Association Dion Leslie was one of the first responders:

Deon Leslie, President of the Cycling Association
"Lory took the blunt of the hit. She was behind everyone in the group, riding, when a Toyota Tacoma hit her from behind. Her head smashed into the windshield, which broke it and caused extensive damage to her bike. After that, then proceeded to knock down all of the 5 riders on the side of the road. Everyone has minor scrapes and bruises, so we still brought them here just for observation. What the riders were telling me, is that the road was clear, they were on a straight, there was no oncoming traffic, so their still puzzled of how it happened and how the driver managed to knock down Lory."

And that is what investigators are trying to figure out.

Sgt. Keith Clarke, Officer Commanding Hattieville
"A sketch plan was taken of the scene and was then processed by a scenes of crime technician. A statement has been recorded from Mr. Hendy and he has been served with a notice of an intended prosecution. Obviously Mr. Hendy's statement is quite different from the initial statements we got from the cyclists. Basically Mr. Hendy is claiming that the cyclists were in the wrong, where I think he mentioned they were riding 2-abreast and he is claiming that Mrs. Harkey simply turned, these are the words he used, into his vehicle and he was unable to avoid hitting her."

Lory Harkey and Jacqueline Flinn remain hospitalized at the Belize Medical Associates.

The team came to Belize to participate in the annual cross country but now, the race is the last thing on their minds. Santiago Castillo, a cycling friend, paid a visit to them this morning and expressed his remorse.

Santiago Castillo, Cycling Enthusiast
"Well quite honestly, this is the first time that I can recall in my 37 years of cycling, that something like this has happened prior to a cross country. I just finished seeing the cyclists Chris Harkey and Scotty Weiss, which are main stays here in Belize, their names are well known. they were coming back from a ride, they went to Cheers this morning, left Belize 5:30, had breakfast at Cheers coming back, riding on the right hand side of the road 2-abreast all the way on the side when this pickup comes out of the way and knocks them down. My thing is, what's the rush for the motor vehicle? I myself as someone that trains on that road as a cyclist, I have had many close brushes and I've seen other people have close brushes as well. I always say, in the U.S there's a 4 foot rule, some of these drivers shout 'what are you doing on the road, you have no business here.' we have as much entitlement to the road as they do, in fact I have been lobbying for a while and I'll continue to lobby the government that they should, when finance is available, make us a bicycle path to and from Hattieville, because that is the area that we train on the most. This is not necessary at all for something like this to happen on the eve of the eve of cross country is really very sad."

"Does this leave a bitter taste going in to Saturday's race?"

Deon Leslie, President of the Cycling Association
"It does, it's saddened. Everyone's on that hype, building up the suspense come Saturday morning and this is something which basically deflates all that emotion and excitement that we were feeling. This evening we'll have the formal parade around the city where I know people always come out and line the highways and roads to see the foreign cyclists along with the local cyclists. It does cause a damper to the moods and the spirits coming into the race within 2 days."

Reporting for 7 news Emanuel Pech.

Lory Harkey remains in the hospital in a serious condition while Jacqueline Flynn is suspected to be suffering from a broken wrist.

Channel 7