A windstorm that lashed central Illinois sent dangerous clouds of blinding dust off agricultural fields Monday, causing several accidents that have killed at least six people on Interstate 55, police said.
The late morning incidents involved 40 to 60 cars and multiple trailers, two of which caught fire, Major of the Illinois State Police. Ryan Starek He said.
He said at least six people have died, all in the northbound lanes, and more than 30 people on both sides of I-55 have been taken to hospitals with injuries.
He said, “The only thing I heard after it hit us was crash after crash after it hit behind us.” Tom Thomas43, who was traveling south to St. Louis.
I-55 is closed in both directions in Montgomery County, 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of St. Louis, and likely won’t reopen until Tuesday.
It’s a spring version of the “whitewash” we usually see in winter snowstorms, Staryk told reporters. The state’s governor, JB Pritzker, described the scene as “terrifying.”
“The cause of the accidents was due to the strong winds that blew dirt from the agricultural fields across the highway, resulting in a lack of visibility,” Starik said.
Deron Socaras QuinteroThe 32-year-old, who was driving to St. Louis to make deliveries for the custom tire company based in Elk Grove Village, said that after his truck hit the vehicle in front of him, he got out and pulled to the side of the road to secure his car. He then came back with a chain reaction of crashes ending up behind him.
Socarras Quintero said the dust continued to blow violently as he checked other motorists and emergency personnel arrived. He grabbed his bag, which was covered in dust even though it was inside the cab of a closed truck.
The National Weather Service said winds at the time were between 35 mph (56 kph) and 45 mph (74 kph).
“It’s very flat, very few trees,” the meteorologist said Chuck Schafer He said. “It has been really very dry across this region for the past three weeks. The farmers outside are plowing and cultivating their fields. The top layer of soil is quite loose.”
Evan Anderson, 25, who was driving home to St. Louis from Chicago, said half of the car turned around before hitting his vehicle, sparing him from further damage.
“You can’t even see,” Anderson said. “People tried to slow down while others didn’t, and it just rolled over. There were a lot of cars and semi-trailers with a lot of momentum behind them.”
Kevin Shutedirector of emergency services for Montgomery County, said it was a “very challenging sight” and very difficult to rehearse.
“We had to search every vehicle, whether it was involved in the accident or had just been pulled over, to check for injuries,” he said, adding that people “were upset — obviously, understandably so.”
Authorities have set up staging areas away from the crash site to help travelers reunite with friends and family.


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