Video: At least 6 dead after Ill. dust storm causes dozens of vehicle crashes, 2 fires
More than 30 agencies responded to the scene, and EMS providers transported more than 30 people to area hospitals
By Leila Merrill
DIVERNON, Ill. — A windstorm stirred up dangerous clouds of blinding dust Monday, causing multiple vehicle crashes that killed at least six people on Interstate 55, according to the Illinois State Police.
The crashes late Monday morning involved 40 to 60 cars, the Associated Press reported.
Illinois State Police Maj. Ryan Starrick said more than 30 people ranging in age from 2 to 80 years old had been transported to hospitals, the Washington Post reported. Some patients had life-threatening injuries.
Two trucks caught fire in the crashes.
More than 30 agencies dispatched crews to the scene. The Springfield Fire Department’s hazardous materials team was among them.
Kevin Schott, director of the Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency, said despite the significant dust, first responders were able to extinguish the fires and search for victims.
“This is a difficult scene, something that is very hard to train for, something that we really haven’t experienced locally,” Schott said.
About 200 miles of the highway were closed, and a reunification site was set up.