A dust storm is blamed for causing a 17-vehicle crash near the town of Midland on a West Texas interstate. The chain collision on Interstate 20 before 8 p.m. Monday evening near the Midland-Ector County line, killed two people and sent two more individuals to the hospital with serious injuries, the Associated Press reports. One crash victim died at the scene, another passed away at the hospital a short time later, My West Texas Online notes.
Midland municipal representative Persephone Dakopolos told the media a Texas thunderstorm “kicked up dust” and blew the vision-impairing material onto Interstate 20 near mile marker 123. As the West Texas dust cloud spread, vehicles near the rear of the traffic stream slowed down once inside the cloud.
The quick reduction in speed by drivers unable to see due to the West Texas dust storm is reportedly the reason for the chain reaction 17-vehicle collision.
Five semi-trailers were among the vehicles on the West Texas highway consumed by the dust storm. Fox News journalist Brian Hemmer reports two of the 18-wheelers “sandwiched” another car – killing the driver and passenger.
Midland Fire Department Battalion Chief Vince Hancock noted two other Texas dust cloud accident victims were taken to an area hospital with “serious injuries,” according to the Associated Press. NewsWest9 reports the deceased victims are Jesus Zapata and Felix Vargas.
Fortunately none of the tractor-trailers were carrying and hazardous material, which could have caused more injuries or deaths, NewsWest9 notes. Both the west and east bound lanes of traffic were closed for hours as emergency workers cleared the West Texas interstate of crashed vehicles and debris.