Dust storms in Illinois causes fatal car accidents

DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — Dust storms causing poor visibility in central Illinois are being blamed for car accidents that killed two people. Illinois State Police say visibility was poor when a 53-year-old Chatham man was killed when he struck a semitrailer, and another vehicle rear-ended his vehicle, Wednesday afternoon on Interstate 72. The third vehicle’s driver was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries. A 16-year-old Mahomet boy died in a separate accident after crashing into the back of a semitrailer in Douglas County an hour later. Two 17-year-old passengers suffered injuries that weren’t life-threatening. National Weather Service meteorologist Ed Shimon says dust storms are rare in the area, but that near-perfect storm conditions existed Wednesday. Gusting winds hit speeds of 45 mph, blanketing rural interstates and roads with clouds of blinding dust.