3 dead in massive pileup on I-10 caused by dust storm


by Frank Camacho and Catherine Holland


Posted on December 22, 2009 at 11:50 AM

Updated Sunday, Nov 10 at 11:45 PM

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CASA GRANDE, Ariz. -- At least three people are dead and more than a dozen others are hurt after a huge dust storm spawned a massive pileup involving some 30 vehicles on Interstate 10 at milepost 190. That's about 10 miles north of the junction between Interstates 10 and 8 in central Arizona.

It happened just before 11 a.m. The Department of Public safety said  several vehicles caught fire and were engulfed in flames. In total, seven commercial vehicles were involved in the wreck. The total number of injured persons is still unclear.

There is one fatality from a tanker truck that reportedly exploded. Three additional deaths have since been confirmed. Among those killed was 14-year-old Mark Eide and 17-year-old Katie Eide, both of Casa Grande. Another man killed in the crash was 25-year-old Edgar Ivan Medina Vargas from Iowa City, Iowa.

DPS also confirms five people were seriously injured and taken by medical helicopter to the hospital.

Casa Grande is about 50 miles from Phoenix, about halfway between Phoenix and Tucson. The highway in that area is lined with farm fields that can kick up major dust coulds when the winds blow through.

A separate wreck was reported about 23 miles away. That one is at milepost 213 outside the Eloy/Coolidge area, and reportedly involves four semi trucks and three vehicles.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.