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8 dead in Utah, including 4 children, after sandstorm causes series of car crashes

ABC News
ABC News
 2021-07-27

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Eight people are dead in Utah, including four children under the age of 15, after a sandstorm caused a series of car crashes Sunday, according to the Utah Highway Patrol.

The crash happened around 4:30 p.m. local time on Interstate 15 in Millard County and involved 22 vehicles. There are still three others in critical condition following the pileup, authorities said Monday.

Utah Highway Patrol released the names of the victims Monday afternoon, including five victims that are from one family. The victims of Sunday's accident are Kortni Sawyer, 30; Riggins Sawyer, 6; Franki Sawyer, 2; Race Sawyer, 37; Ryder Sawyer, 12; Richard Lorenzon, 51; Maricela Lorenzon, 47 and Cameron Valentine, 15.

"We’re stunned and saddened by the horrific accidents in Millard County," Utah Gov. Spencer Cox tweeted. "We fervently pray for the loved ones of those who perished and for those fighting for their lives."

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Utah Highway Patrol - PHOTO: A sandstorm in Utah caused a series of car crashes that left at least seven people dead Sunday.

Officials said winds caused a sand or dust storm and severely impaired visibility on the roadway, which led to the crash.

“It’s very tragic, it’s very hard to see the loss of life, and the families and the people affected,” Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Cameron Roden told ABC News Salt Lake City affiliate KTVX .

Authorities said a couple of minor crashes forced a semi-truck to rear-end a pickup truck. The "most significant crashes happened behind the semi with two vehicles becoming wedged underneath the back of the trailer. They appear to have been hit from behind by another pickup," according to UHP.

"Heartbroken over the tragic deaths and injuries following a 22-vehicle pileup near Fillmore on Sunday, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney tweeted Monday night. "Ann and I are praying for the victims and their loved ones as we grieve this terrible loss."

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