Updated at 2:45 p.m. Tuesday.
WINNEMUCCA — A 26-car pileup in a dust storm on Interstate 80 just west of Winnemucca sent dozens of people to the hospital Monday and killed at least one commercial trucker.
Four people were flown to a Reno hospital with serious injuries and at least 33 motorists were admitted to Humboldt General Hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
Interstate 80 reopened on Tuesday around noon, nearly 20 hours after the crash happened, according to Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Jim Stewart.
NDOT and other crews were still cleaning debris from the road Tuesday afternoon.
White paper littered much of the highway for a square mile. The papers were labels for canned peaches, which were packed into one of the commercial trucks involved in the crash, said NHP Sgt. Jake Harp.
Two planes out of Winnemucca transported four injured people to Reno last night, an airport employee said.
The dust storm blew over from neighboring farmland just before 5 p.m. Monday, dropping visibility to “zero,” according to Stewart.
Cars and trucks began to pile up around milemarker 175, with eight to nine vehicles crashing on the eastbound side and 17 to 18 vehicles crashing on the westbound side, Stewart said.
Officials identified the fatality in the pileup as 51-year-old Chicago truck driver Ravi Dyer, who was driving westbound and rearended another commercial truck, according to NHP officials. Two other commercial vehicles then hit Dyer’s truck.
An unnamed passenger in Dyer’s truck was in serious condition at a Reno hospital, according to the NHP.
According to a release from Humboldt General Hospital, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Dispatch sent out a call for all possible medical, law enforcement and fire resources in the region shortly before 5 p.m. after motorists reported “near-apocalyptic conditions” on the interstate. Officials tentatively attributed the dust to recently plowed fields and high winds.
Insurance adjusters were already surveying the scene and taking photos Tuesday morning, preparing for claims from the commercial trucking companies involved, said one adjuster.
The Winnemucca Police Department, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department, Humboldt County EMS, and the Nevada Department of Transportation provided assistance at the scene, Stewart said.