Sandstorm blamed for multi-vehicle crash that killed two

FOX21 has a crew on the way. We'll update this web page with any new information as it comes in./ FOX21 News
FOX21 has a crew on the way. We'll update this web page with any new information as it comes in./ FOX21 News

LAMAR, Colo. — The Colorado State Patrol says a sandstorm is to blame for a multi-vehicle crash that killed two people in Prowers County Wednesday evening.

Troopers said the crash happened on Highway 287 near mile market 69 in Prowers County, which is in southeastern Colorado.

Troopers said a 2003 Ford van was headed northbound when it stopped in the northbound lane due to a sandstorm that severely limited visibility. While it was stopped, a 2014 Freightliner semi-tractor pulling a loaded trailer hit the van. The Freightliner overrode the back of the van and both vehicles went northbound until the van hit the back of a 2002 Freightliner semi-truck.

A 2015 Kenworth semi-truck was also headed northbound on the highway at the time. It came to a controlled stop behind the Freightliner, but moments later, the Kenworth was rear-ended by a 2012 Chevy Traverse. The Traverse was then hit by a 2002 Freightliner semi-truck. The Freightliner was then hit by a 2005 International semi-truck, which caused the Freightliner to jackknife on the roadway.

The International was then hit by a 2013 Dodge Ram 3500 pulling a trailer. The front of the Ram went under the International’s trailer.

The driver of the Ford van, 53-year-old Xiao Feng of Dallas, was killed in the crash. Troopers said he was wearing his seatbelt.

The driver of the Chevy Traverse, 54-year-old Hans Friederichs of Wiley, sustained moderate injuries. Troopers said he was wearing his seatbelt. Two passengers in the Traverse, 78-year-old Fred Heckman and 54-year-old Joleyne Friederichs, sustained moderate to severe injuries.

A third passenger, 75-year-old Caryol Heckman of McClave, was killed in the crash. Troopers said she did not appear to be wearing her seatbelt.

The driver of the Dodge Ram, 55-year-old Jorge Suarez of Garland, sustained serious but non-life-threatening injuries. Troopers said he was wearing his seatbelt.

None of the semi-truck drivers were injured. They were identified as 52-year-old Michael Goodson of Yuma, Arizona, 49-year-old David Allides of Tomball, Texas, 36-year-old Luis Almanza of Brighton, 35-year-old Allen Burden of Hammond, Louisiana, and 59-year-old Joaquin Rodriguez of Las Vegas. Troopers said they were all wearing their seatbelts.

Troopers said speed, alcohol use, and drug use are not considered factors in the crash, which remains under investigation.

The highway was closed until around 9:20 a.m. Thursday morning due to the crash.

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