Highway Reopens As 70-Vehicle Dust Storm Crash Claims 7 Lives
A 2-mile stretch of Interstate 55 in central Illinois. Yesterday, the highway reopens as 70-vehicle dust storm crash claims 7 lives, the day before. At least seven people were killed and 37 others were injured in a dust storm-related accident that involved over 70 vehicles, including two semi-trucks that caught fire. The crashes occurred in both northbound and southbound lanes, with all the fatalities reported in northbound lanes.
Deadly Dust Storm Causes 70-Vehicle Crash On Illinois Interstate, Killing 7
The accident happened after newly plowed fields released dust that reduced visibility to zero, causing the crashes. The Illinois State Police gave a news release regarding the reason for the incident.
The cause of the crash is due to excessive winds blowing dirt from farm fields across the highway leading to zero visibility.
- Illinois State Police
The National Weather Service had issued a “blowing dust warning” earlier in the day.
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Illinois State Police Maj. Ryan Starrick said that the victims’ ages ranged from two to 80, with 37 people hospitalized with injuries ranging from life-threatening to minor. Among those who died was 88-year-old Shirley Harper of Franklin, Wisconsin. The identities of the other victims are yet to be identified and their families notified.
CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said that the deciding factor in the accident was the tilled fields, describing the event as a localized occurrence caused by localized conditions.
Kevin Schott, the director of Montgomery County’s Emergency Management Agency, said that the scene was difficult to manage because of the thick dust, which made it hard for first responders to reach the victims quickly.
Schott added that the responders had to search every vehicle, whether involved in the accident or just pulled over, to check for injuries.
6 dead after dust cloud cause 60-car crash, closes I-55 for 28 miles
Photos from the crash show a yellow haze in the air, with vehicles on fire and smoke mixing with the dust as first responders surveyed the damage. According to CNN, rescuers described the scene as “difficult,” something that was “very hard to train for” and that “we really haven’t experienced locally.”
The interstate reopened in both directions on Tuesday morning, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. The coroner’s offices were reached out to for more information.
The accident was a tragic reminder of the dangers of driving in dust storms, which can create a sudden and hazardous situation, reducing visibility to almost zero and causing multiple accidents. It is essential to follow safety precautions when driving in dust storms, such as reducing speed, turning on headlights, and pulling over to the side of the road until visibility improves.
As the investigation into the accident continues, Illinois State Police issued a statement urging motorists to drive with extra caution during extreme weather conditions. They advised drivers to slow down, increase the distance between vehicles, and avoid distractions, such as cell phones, to prevent accidents.