A catastrophic 90-car pileup on Illinois’ Interstate 55 has left six dead and over 30 people injured as a severe dust storm enveloped the area, causing zero visibility for drivers. According to Illinois State Police, the pileup involved approximately 30 commercial motor vehicles and 40 to 60 passenger cars, including two truck-tractor semi-trailers that caught fire. All fatalities occurred in the northbound lanes of the highway. The crashes occurred on Monday morning within a two-mile stretch of highway in Farmersville, Illinois.
The dust storm caused by excessive winds blowing dirt from farm fields across the highway, made it impossible for drivers to see, resulting in multiple collisions. Local readings indicated that wind gusts near I-55 ranged upwards of 35 miles per hour, with Illinois State Police Maj. Ryan Starrick telling reporters that the weather conditions were similar to “whiteout conditions” during a snowstorm. The ages of those injured ranges from two-years-old to 80 years old.
Eyewitness Nathan Cormier filmed the aftermath of the pile-up and told media that the scene was that of a “dust bowl.” He recounted how he had driven through dust storms before and knew to put his hazards on and slow down. However, when he moved to the left lane to get away out from behind a semi, he saw everything else stopped in the road. Another driver who was traveling toward St. Louis shared how the only thing he could hear after they got hit was crash after crash after crash behind them.
The emergency services rushed to the scene to provide aid to the victims of the pileup. Video footage from the scene offered a glimpse into the chaos and devastation of the accident. Officials have since closed the interstate through Tuesday as a precautionary measure. This tragedy serves as a reminder to drivers to be extra cautious in severe weather conditions and to follow safety guidelines when driving through hazardous areas.
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