Two children were among the six people killed when a dust storm swept into Montana and caused what one official called, “one of the most intense multi-vehicle accidents” in the state’s history.
Some 21 vehicles collided on Interstate 90, about 45 miles east of Billings, around 4:30 p.m. Friday when an “outflow” surge of wind outpaced a severe thunderstorm, according to police and meteorologists. The highway is a major route in both Montana and the Western U.S.
Investigators so far have found no other factors that contributed to the pileup, which left eight others injured, said Montana Highway Patrol Sgt. Jay Nelson.
“Everything is indicative of an isolated extreme weather event,” Nelson said. “What could people do? It really was just panic.”
“In my 24 years of experience, this is one of the most intense multi-vehicle accidents we’ve had in the state of Montana,” Nelson said.
Witnesses described the low visibility nightmare to local outlet MTN News.
“As we got closer into the dust storm, you could start seeing the vehicles in the ditch,” said Landa Uffelman, who drove by the scene.
“There was a camper, the whole side of it was blown off, the top was off of it. Front ends of vehicles were smashed in.”
With Post wires