CASA GRANDE, Ariz. (AP) -- Authorities say three people are dead and several others seriously injured after a dust storm led to multiple crashes on Interstate 10 south of Casa Grande.
Arizona Department of Public Safety says up to six commercial vehicles may have been involved in chain-reaction collisions shortly after noon Tuesday.
DPS officials say several passenger cars also were involved including one that was pinned between two 18-wheelers.
"We do know that there are 3 confirmed dead. We’re looking at over a dozen injuries and at least 19 vehicles involved in the crash," said Officer Carrick Cook with the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
Television footage showed several cars that smashed into each other in the middle of the highway with most of the big rigs pulled over on the side of I-10 near Picacho (pih-CAH'-cho) Peak in south-central Arizona.
"That area of I-10 is historically known for these major dust storms, these blowing dust storms that come through, said Officer Cook. "At the time of this crash there were reports that there was zero visibility in the road and with these dynamic systems that come through so quickly people are often surprised by it."
Several medical helicopters also were seen taking some of the injured to hospitals.
DPS officials say all westbound lanes of I-10 north of Picacho Peak were closed.
Cook said the investigation will take a long time.
"This could be 3, 4 or even 5 crashes. That’s where the interview comes in with the drivers and witnesses," explained Cook. "But we are investigating this as one major incident so this will all go into one major report."