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Victims identified in I-10 dust storm wreck

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Photo: Video by kgun9.com

Victims identified in I-10 dust storm wreck

By Craig Smith. CREATED Oct 30, 2013

CASA GRANDE, Ariz (KGUN9-TV) - The wreckage is cleared now, but the impact from Tuesday's massive crash on I-10 near Casa Grande is still piling up.
      
A blinding dust storm led to the wreck.

Nine on your side viewers drove through the wreckage and shared their reactions with us.
    
In Tucson, University of Arizona Medical Center took in eight patients from the wreck.  The good news now is six have been able to check out.
       
Just two are left; as of Wednesday afternoon, one was in serious condition, one listed as fair. 

KGUN9 viewer Maranda Flynn couldn't get over what she saw as she drove past the accident scene; "Oh my gosh, Oh my gosh, The whole cab of that truck is demolished..it's gone...Oh my God."
        
Flynn's phone video shows the shocking power of the wreck, and the impact when high winds, blinding dust, and moving metal come together.

Video shows how well the thick dust made vehicles vanish. In one shot an ambulance takes just three seconds to disappear in the dust.
        
Eleven cars and eleven trucks collided.
        
Rescuers rushed 12 people to hospitals: UAMC in Tucson, Good Samaritan, and St Josephs in Phoenix.
        
The three people who died reflect the nature of a cross-country highway.

Two of the three were from out of state...from Mead Washington, 76 year old Gordon Lee Smith.
          
From Milton Iowa, 51 year old David D. Bechtel and from Phoenix, 46 year old Lenny Lubers.
          
This is the fourth, multi car wreck related to dust storms since 2011.  In that year, three wrecks, involved a total of 39 vehicles and two deaths.

Dust related accidents near that spot at Casa Grande go back more than 40 years.  The worst happened in 1970 when twelve people died.  Open desert, farmland, and nearby dirt roads all add to dust problems there.

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

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Craig enjoys using innovative writing and visuals to make difficult stories easier to understand. As a newsroom manager at KGUN 9, Craig was part of the team that won three best newscast awards from Arizona Associated Press