Dust storm causes 70+ vehicle pileup, leaving six dead in Illinois

In a tragic incident on Monday morning, a blinding dust storm caused a massive pileup involving more than 70 vehicles on Interstate 55 in Montgomery County, south of Springfield, Illinois. The incident has claimed the lives of at least six people, with more than 30 others injured.

According to the Illinois State Police, the pileup was caused by excessive winds blowing dirt from farm fields across the highway, leading to zero visibility. Video images shared on social media showed dozens of cars and tractor-trailers in disarray amid billowing smoke and dust on both sides of the interstate. Flames were still visible from at least one vehicle.

As a result of the incident, the interstate was shut down in both directions for nearly 30 miles, with authorities closing traffic between mileposts 52 and 80. It is likely to remain closed overnight, and drivers are advised to avoid the area.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker described the incident as “horrific.” Illinois State Police Major Ryan Starrick said that the exact number of fatalities would be released later in the day. The pileup took place just before 11 a.m. Central Time near milepost 76 in south-central Illinois’ Montgomery County.

Emergency services, including 10 helicopters and a hazardous materials team, were called to the scene to suppress fires and transport injured individuals to hospitals.

The incident is a reminder of the dangers of high winds and poor visibility, especially during farming season. Authorities have urged drivers to exercise caution and stay alert while driving in such conditions.

By Joshi

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