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‘Multiple’ people killed, dozens injured as dust storm causes major car crash in Illinois

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(NEW YORK) — Multiple people are dead and dozens injured after a massive pileup Monday in Illinois caused by a sudden dust storm, officials said.

Illinois State Police Maj. Ryan Starrick said during an afternoon press conference he did not have an official death toll, but said more than 30 people were transported to the hospital.

The crash took place at about 11 a.m. local time on Interstate 55 in Montgomery County, officials said.

Forty to 60 passenger vehicles and at least 20 commercial vehicles were involved in the crash, including two semi-trucks that caught fire, police said.

The cause of the crash was excessive winds blowing dirt from farm fields across the highway, Starrick said.

“It actually looks like snow almost when I was sending [my kids] videos,” said Karen Leach, who was caught up in the storm. “And it just it feels like, like the end of the world.”

Leach, who was driving an RV from Illinois to Texas, said she had been caught up in traffic for five hours.

The stretch of I-55 where the accident took place is expected to be closed until Tuesday afternoon, Starrick said.

Law enforcement is currently doing a secondary search of vehicles, but it’s preliminarily believed that everyone has been transported away from the scene, he said.

“My team and I are closely following the devastating crash on I-55 as authorities learn more,” Rep. Nikki Budzinski said in on Twitter. “Please be safe as this situation continues to unfold.”

ABC News’ Peter Charalambous contributed to this report.

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