Lenny Lubers, Gordon Lee Smith and David Bechtel Killed, A Dozen Injured in Dust Storm Crashes
Picacho Peak, Arizona—Lenny Lubers, age 46, of Phoenix, Gordon Lee Smith, age 76, of Mead, Washington, and David Bechtel, age 51, of Milton, Iowa, were killed in the multi-vehicle accident that occurred during a dust storm on westbound Interstate 10 yesterday. Mr. Smith’s wife, whose name has not yet been released, survived the crash and is under treatment for her injuries. There are no reports as yet on passengers in Mr. Lubers’ or Mr. Bechtel’s vehicles.
At least a dozen more people were injured in the accident, some seriously. None of them has yet been identified by Arizona Department of Public Safety accident investigators. Nineteen vehicles were involved in the crash including six tractor trailers and seven passenger vehicles.
The National Weather Service issued forecasts and warnings about blowing dust in the area near the time of the tragic pileup. The Interstate 10 corridor between Picacho Peak and Casa Grande is notorious for collisions related to blowing dust. Notwithstanding visibility problems, human error is typically a cause of dust storm accidents.
Motorists should remain especially alert when confronted with blowing dust. Slow down, pull completely off the paved portion of the road, and turn off all lights on your vehicle.
We extend our condolences to the families of Mr. Lubers, Mr. Smith and Mr. Bechtel, and we wish those injured speedy and complete recoveries.