A chain-reaction crash caused by a dust storm on an Arizona highway took the lives of three people on Tuesday. The area where the crash occurred often sees gusting winds stirring up clouds of dirt that have the potential to reduce visibility to zero. Nineteen vehicles were involved in the pileup on Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson. At least twelve were injured in addition to the three individuals who were killed. According to officials from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, crews utilized portable lights as they worked into the evening to pry apart seven passenger cars, ten commercial vehicles, one tanker, and one recreational vehicle.
Henry Wallace, a witness to the pileup, told news sources that he exited his car just before the chain-reaction crashes began. Wallace stated, “One truck hit another truck. Cars start piling into each other, and they pushed that one truck right into me and off to the side of the road. I couldn’t see anything because the (dust) was so thick, but I could just hear it.” Rescue crews and medical personnel arrived on scene shortly after the chain-reaction crashes began. Several of the injured were airlifted by medical helicopters to Tucson and Phoenix hospitals. At least one of the injured individuals was in critical condition. Seventy-six-year-old Gordon Lee Smith of Mead, Washington, was one of the individuals killed in the pileup. The identities of the others who were killed have not yet been released.
Department of Public Safety investigators took to interviewing survivors to determine how the pileup occurred. Officials hope that the interviews will reveal how many crashes occurred that led to the ultimate pileup. DPS Officer Carrick Cook stated, “At the time of this crash, there were reports that there was zero visibility in the road, and with these dynamic systems that come through so quickly, people are often surprised by it.” According to DPS spokesman Bart Graves, Tuesday’s crash was one of the worst pileups in that stretch of highway in the past seven years. Parts of westbound I-10 were shut down for more than five hours on Tuesday.
3 killed in dust storm crashes on I-10 in Arizona, www.miamiherald.com October 30, 2013
Dust storms, rain, snow, and other similar weather conditions create very dangerous conditions for drivers on highways. These motorists are often operating their vehicles at very high speeds and do not or cannot decrease their speeds as is necessary to handle the zero visibility conditions. Additionally, a previous automobile crash creates a hazardous condition for drivers that follow. The Broward automobile accident attorneys at the Friedland Law Group understand how devastating and tragic massive highway pileup accidents can be. The Miami Beach motor vehicle accident attorneys have over two decades of experience helping individuals injured and families who have lost a loved one in these accidents. The Coral Gables insurance litigation attorneys want to help you pick up the pieces after a tragic accident, so call (305) 661-2008 today for your free consultation!
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