A dust storm caused a series of collisions on a major highway in Illinois on Monday, killing at least six people and injuring dozens more. The accident involved nearly 100 vehicles, including 30 commercial trucks, along a two-mile stretch of Interstate 55.
Illinois State Police reported that excessive winds carrying dirt from nearby farm fields reduced visibility along the highway, leading to the collisions. Two semi-trucks caught fire in the aftermath, which added to the chaos of the already devastating accident.
Images from the scene showed emergency responders battling dusty and hazy conditions, with smoke and even fires rising from vehicles that had careened off the road. The accident was a reminder of a similar crash in Utah last year, in which eight people were killed and 22 vehicles were involved in a sandstorm-related collision.
In this case, victims ranged in age from two to 80, and more than 30 people were transported to area hospitals with injuries ranging from minor to life-threatening. The highway, which connects the cities of Chicago and St. Louis, was closed for several hours as police and firefighters worked to clear the wreckage.
Dust storms, like the one that caused this accident, are a growing concern in many parts of the country. They can be caused by a variety of factors, including drought, wind erosion, and human activity. They are particularly dangerous for drivers because they can reduce visibility to almost zero in a matter of seconds.