I-10 Reopens After Deadly Chain Reaction Pileup Killed Three People

Patricia Didelot

I-10 in Arizona has reopened following Tuesday afternoon’s deadly pileup, which caused three deaths and a dozen injuries forcing the highway’s closure in both directions after a blinding dust storm.

As reported by The Inquisitr the I-10 crashes occurred shortly after noon on Tuesday as reported by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) in Arizona.

Authorities say Interstate 10 reopened at approximately 10:30 pm Tuesday around the area of Picacho Peak, between Tucson and Casa Grande.

The DPS says 19 vehicles were involved in the chain reaction crashes – 10 commercial vehicles, seven passenger cars, one tanker, and one recreational vehicle.

One of those killed in the I-10 crashes was identified as George Lee Smith, 76, of Mead, Washington according to authorities. The other two people who died in the pileup have not been identified.

The accidents are believed to have been the result of a sudden dust storm, which is not uncommon in the area. The National Weather Service had issued an alert earlier in the day.

DPS spokesman Bart Graves said Tuesday’s crashes was one of the worst chain-reaction accidents in that area in the past seven years.

“This could be 3, 4 or even 5 crashes. That’s where the interview comes in with the drivers and witnesses,” Cook explained. “But we are investigating this as one major incident so this will all go into one major report.”

Now that I-10 has reopened, the Arizona Department of Transportation is sharing some driving tips, in case motorists are caught in one of the unexpected dust storms, on the website PullAsideStayAlive.org:

•Avoid driving into or through a dust storm.

•If you encounter a dust storm, check traffic immediately around your vehicle (front, back and to the side) and begin slowing down.

•Do not wait until poor visibility makes it difficult to safely pull off the roadway — do it as soon as possible. Completely exit the highway if you can, away from where other vehicles may travel.

•Do not stop in a travel lane or in the emergency lane; look for a safe place to pull completely off the paved portion of the roadway.

•Turn off all vehicle lights, including your emergency flashers.

•Set your emergency brake and take your foot off the brake.

•Stay in the vehicle with your seat belts buckled and wait for the storm to pass.

•Drivers of high-profile vehicles should be especially aware of changing weather conditions and travel at reduced speeds.

•Be alert that any storm can cause power outages to overhead roadway lighting and traffic signals. Drive with caution and treat all intersections without signals as having stop signs in all directions.

For all the latest information on the I-10 reopening, follow the Arizona DOT Twitter account. Some problems are still being reported.