Dust Storm Leaves Deadly Wake Across South Plains - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/19/04

Dust Storm Leaves Deadly Wake Across South Plains

The dust invaded around 12:30 p.m., taking away daylight, the landscape, and nearly all visibility. "We've got at least 15 to 20 accidents so far," said DPS trooper Ruben Garcia.

US 84, five miles west of Post, was completely shut down. A husband and wife driving a milk truck, died in the pileup. Several others were transported to the hospital by ambulance. Aerocare was grounded due to conditions. Authorities inched forward through the wreckage, unsure of where it ended. "We've only made it a quarter mile that way, there might still be more," said Garcia.

Further west, there was another pile-up. On Highway 87, about a mile south of Woodrow, a perpetual wall of dust, 30 feet high, traveling at 30 mph. Visibility...dismal. A multi-car pile-up left in the wind's wicked wake. A mother with her two-day old infant was going home from the hospital. She pulled over for safety, only to be hit by another car. Over the next two hours, ambulances converged on Lubbock's E.R.'s. "We've had 10 patients arrive here at UMC," said hospital spokesman Greg Bruce.

Hospitals called United Blood Services asking for, "All the O-negative they had," but the blood bank was out. Backup supplies from Midland, Odessa, and San Angelo were shipped in.

By the end of the day, the tally stood at 17 injured, two dead, and a multitude of destroyed and damaged vehicles.

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