Eighth person dies in I-55 pileup crash caused by dust storm

Ruth Rau, 81, of downstate Sorento, died Tuesday night at a hospital, Illinois State Police said.

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First responders work the scene of a crash involving 72 vehicles that shut down the northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 55 near Springfield on May 1.

Associated Press

An eighth person has died from their injuries suffered earlier this month in a massive car crash when a windstorm downstate kicked up clouds of dust on Interstate 55.

Ruth Rau, 81, of downstate Sorento, died Tuesday night at a hospital, Illinois State Police said.

The accident happened shortly before 11 a.m. May 1 near the town of Divernon, about 16 miles south of Springfield. Excessive winds blew dirt from farm fields across the highway, causing zero visibility of the roadway, police said.

The 72 vehicles involved in the crash included at least two semitrailers that caught fire, police said.

State police have previously identified the following victims:

  • Shirley Harper, 88, of Franklin, Wisconsin;
  • Joseph Bates, 73, of Crystal Lake;
  • Donna Bates, 71, of Crystal Lake;
  • Earl LeGrand, 64, of Florissant, Missouri;
  • Otto Medina-Salazar, 58, of Carthage, Missouri;
  • Michael Zinchuk, 55, of Champaign;
  • Amy Zinchuk, 54, of Champaign.

At least 37 other people were hospitalized with injuries ranging from minor to critical, police said.

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