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Eighth person dies after downstate dust storm pileup on I-55

Eighth person dies after pileup in downstate dust storm
Eighth person dies after pileup in downstate dust storm 00:31

CHICAGO (CBS) -- An eighth person has died in connection with the pileup crash involving several dozen cars on a stretch of Interstate 55 south of Springfield earlier this month.

Ruth Rau, 81, was a passenger in a car that crashed on the interstate in Montgomery County during the May 1 storm. The Sorento, Illinois, resident was taken to St. John's Hospital in Springfield after the crash and died on Tuesday while still in the hospital from multiple blunt force injuries sustained in the crash, according to the Sangamon County Coroner's Office.

The coroner's office and the Illinois State Police are investigating the death.

Seven others were identified as those who lost their lives in the pileup:

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

Police said 37 people were hospitalized as a result of the pileup, which was caused by a dust storm that dramatically reduced visibility. Such conditions arise due to excessively high winds blowing soil from nearby farms onto the roadway.

Authorities had to close that stretch of I-55 both after the pileup and the following day due to similar conditions.

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