1 dead, 17 injured during dust storm

High winds and low visibility snarled traffic on I-27 from New Deal to Abernathy. (KCBD / Sage Gallaway)
High winds and low visibility snarled traffic on I-27 from New Deal to Abernathy. (KCBD / Sage Gallaway)

LUBBOCK COUNTY, TX (KCBD) - One person was killed and 17 injured in several multiple car pileups on I-27 Wednesday afternoon, according to DPS Corporal John Gonzalez. 63 year-old Leslie Carrier, of Fort Collins, Colorado died when his vehicle rear-ended a tractor-trailer. At least 23 cars and 2 semi-trucks were involved in accidents due to low visibility.

12 of the accident victims were taken to UMC, 10 with minor injuries and 2 with moderate injuries. Five people were taken to Covenant as well. Everyone was expected to be released overnight.

For the first time ever, UMC set up a mobile triage unit on the side of I-27 for accident victims. Staff members were able to respond to patients immediately and release them or take them to the hospital for further treatment.

The Texas Department of Transportation strongly discouraged any travel along the I-27 corridor between Lubbock and Amarillo due to extremely dangerous conditions.

Strong winds producing blowing dust created near zero visibility conditions across areas of the entire South Plains area. Motorists were urged to drive to with caution.

Additionally, the southbound Marsha Sharp Freeway direct connect to South Loop 289 was closed to truck and high profile vehicle traffic.

Due to downed power lines and other damage caused by Wednesday's high winds, LP&L reported widespread power outages across Lubbock. Also, about 1,000 people were reportedly without power in Levelland.

Check this link to track the progress of LP&L repair crews: http://electric_outage.lpandl.com/.

To report downed power lines or outages call 806-775-2555.

Several flights in and out of Preston Smith International Airport in Lubbock were also canceled or delayed. Check www.flylia.com for updates.

Copyright 2012 KCBD. All rights reserved.