A man and a woman in their 70s from Crystal Lake have been identified as two of the seven victims killed in a 72-vehicle pileup during a dust storm in downstate Illinois.
The Illinois State Police said approximately 72 vehicles were involved in crashes that occurred in the northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 55 between mile markers 76 and 78 in Montogomery County.
The pileup happened around 10:55 a.m. Monday and resulted in 37 people being transported to the hospital.
The victims, ages spanning from two to 80, were transported to area hospitals with injuries ranging from minor to critical.
Approximately 30 commercial motor vehicles and 40 passenger cars were involved. Two semi-trucks caught fire following the crashes.
Multiple police departments, over a dozen ambulance services and approximately a dozen fire departments responded to the scene.
Five medical helicopters were also called to the incident. Seven people died in the crashes.
The crashes were caused due to excessive winds blowing dirt from farm fields across the highway, leading to zero visibility, state police said.
The state police on Tuesday initially identified one of the seven victims as Shirley Harper, 88, of Franklin, Wisconsin.
On Saturday, authorities released the identifies of five additional victims: Joseph Bates, 73, of Crystal Lake; Donna Bates, 71, of Crystal Lake; Earl LeGrand, 64, of Florissant, Missouri; Michael Zinchuk, 55, of Champaign; and Amy Zinchuk, 54, of Champaign.
Police say they are working closely with the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office to confirm the identification of the final remaining victim.