Quartzite, Ariz. — A dust storm that swept over the western part of the state degraded visibility along I-10 – contributing to five collisions involving 14 vehicles, the closure of the roadway and the death of a woman.
On Monday, August 15, 2016, between 2:34 p.m. and 4:46 p.m., Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZ DPS) troopers investigated three non-injury collisions involving eight vehicles, an injury collision involving three vehicles and a fatal collision involving three vehicles. Four of the crashes occurred within the eastbound traffic lanes and one within the westbound traffic lanes on I-10; all near milepost 44.
The fatal collision occurred at 2:34 p.m., eastbound along I-10 at milepost 43.5; it involved two commercial tractor-trailer rigs and a passenger vehicle. The passenger vehicle, a Subaru Outback, was crushed between the two commercial vehicles during zero-visibility conditions. Susan V. Bartholomew, 76, the driver of the Subaru, was deceased on scene. She resided in Litchfield Park, Arizona.
The roadway was completely opened by 7:00 p.m.
AZ DPS Capt. Damon Cecil said, “Dust storms are dangerous, unpredictable and develop quickly. If you encounter one while driving, leave the highway and wait the storm out by parking in a safe location. If you cannot leave the highway, leave the traffic lanes and park your car as far to the right as possible. Turn off your lights, take your foot off the brake and wait out the storm.”