Five additional deaths from a series of fatal dust storm crash on Interstate 55 last Monday have been identified by Illinois State Police.
Between mile marks 76 and 78 on Interstate 55’s northbound lanes, seven drivers were killed in collisions as a result of the catastrophic dust storm. According to the Illinois State Police, 37 persons were sent to the hospital and it was thought that 72 automobiles were somehow connected to the collision.
The victims named on Saturday consist of…
- Joseph Bates, 73, of Crystal Lake, Illinois
- Donna Bates, 71, of Crystal Lake, Illinois
- Earl LeGrand, 64, of Florissant, Missouri
- Michael Zinchuk, 55, of Champaign, Illinois
- Amy Zinchuk, 54, of Champaign, Illinois
Shirley Harper, 88, of Franklin, Wisconsin, was one of the victims, according to investigators. One more victim’s identification has not yet been made public by the police.
Brendan Kelly, a spokesman for ISP, said that while they couldn’t immediately draw any conclusions about what exactly caused the crash, a dry spell in Illinois may have contributed to the dust storm. He claims that despite being flat and bordered by dirt fields, the section of Interstate 55 where the crash occurred often has few windbreaks.
The tweet below confirms the news:
“There were very unusual circumstances,” said Kelly on Tuesday. “Certainly dust storms happen, but it’s not something that happens every day in this part of Illinois or in any part of Illinois. It’s a terrible tragedy, it’s a terrible day in this part of Illinois and for the families that were affected by this, we’ll certainly continue to keep them at the center of our hearts.”
According to Kelly, the interstate was swiftly shut down following the initial reports of wrecks and the dust storm at around 11 a.m. However, Monday emphasized that “parameters are not always predictable” to have closed it beforehand, such as in the event of a blizzard or snowy weather. Due to a similar dust storm on Tuesday, I-55 also briefly shut down.
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