Dust storm causes massive pileup in Illinois, leading to multiple fatalities

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A dust storm in Illinois caused a massive pileup of up to 90 motor vehicles Monday morning, resulting in dozens of injuries and multiple deaths.

Illinois State Police said in a statement that the “excessive winds blowing dirt” during the storm caused zero visibility for the drivers, resulting in the pileup. The police said that at 10:55 a.m., one crash occurred on the northbound Interstate 55 and multiple crashes occurred in a two-mile stretch of the southbound lane.

“Be careful while driving on I-55 in northern Montgomery County IL. Combination of newly plowed fields & gusty northwest winds is generating a dust storm in this area. Also, there have been reports of several accidents in the area due to reduction in visibility,” the St. Louis National Weather Service office tweeted Monday morning.

Police said that about 30 commercial vehicles — including two truck-tractor semi-trailers that caught fire as a result — and 40 to 60 passenger vehicles were involved in the crashes. More than 30 people were hospitalized, with ages ranging from 2 years old to 80 years old, and six deaths were reported as a result of the crash, the police said.

All six fatalities occurred in the northbound lanes, and police said they had no additional information on the victims as of Monday evening.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) issued a statement saying he is monitoring the situation.

“I am closely monitoring the horrific situation at the Macoupin and Sangamon County line on I-55. My team is in constant communication with the Illinois State Police, Department of Transportation, and Emergency Management Agency to ensure the safety of motorists as they navigate dangerous conditions,” he said.

“On the ground, our first responders and emergency management teams are working diligently to clear the road, provide medical care to those in need, and collaborate with local officials to provide support to everyone affected by this tragic accident,” he added.

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