8 people are dead and several more injured after sandstorm leads to 20 vehicle crash in Utah

Eight people are dead and several more were critically injured when authorities say a sand or dust storm caused visibility issues that led to a series of crashes involving 20 vehicles in Utah Sunday evening.

The crashes happened on I-15 near Kanosh, the Utah Department of Public Service (DPS) said in a news release.

Four of the deaths were adults and four were children under the age of 15, according to a press release from the Utah Department of Public Safety.

Ten people were transported to area hospitals, and at least three of those people are in critical condition.

“It appears that 20 vehicles were involved in Sunday’s crashes after high winds caused a sand or dust storm and impaired visibility on the roadway,” the release said. “The Utah Highway Patrol summoned troopers from Richfield and Beaver to assist. Multiple ground and air ambulances also responded to transport victims.”

Images of the crash site show multiple tractor trailers and several damaged passenger vehicles littering the road, with debris scattered for yards. At least one vehicle appears to have had its passenger doors ripped off.

DPS closed the road in both directions following the crash, which occurred just before 5 p.m., officials said.

A strong thunderstorm was reported southeast of Kanosh around 4:30 p.m., with strong winds occurring as the storm decayed, CNN Meteorologist Gene Norman said. A nearby report of a 51-mph wind gust was also recorded.

The crash occurred in a region that is experiencing some of the worst drought conditions in the country, which makes dust storms more likely. The entire state of Utah is in the two most extreme drought categories as of last week, according to the US Drought Monitor.

Climate scientists have said this year’s historic drought is fueled by climate change, which decreases precipitation and causes more soil-drying heat waves.

Though the weekend thunderstorms brought beneficial rain to isolated areas, the precipitation wasn’t significant enough to prevent gusty winds from kicking up dust and dirt and carrying it for miles. The National Weather Service on Sunday noted a different storm, south of the crash, also created a dangerous dust storm.

Names of the crash victims won’t be released until 24 hours after their families have been notified, the release said.

Kanosh is about 155 miles southwest of Salt Lake City.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Blogs

Labor Day – Expanding voting rights for all

By Mike Matejka Because of COVID, there is no Labor Day Parade this year.  It’s always a great event for our everyday workers to march proudly down the street and enjoys the festive crowd. If there had been a parade, this year’s Labor Day theme was to be “150 years of struggle: your right to vote.” …

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…