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Blinding dust kills 3 in 11-vehicle collision in northwest Kansas

Three people died in an 11-vehicle collision prompted by zero visibility created by blowing dust Thursday afternoon in northwest Kansas, authorities said.

The chain-reaction crash occurred at about 2 p.m. on U.S. 83 two miles west of Rexford, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol. That’s about 20 miles northeast of Colby and north of I-70.

Six semi-trailer trucks and five passenger vehicles were involved in the collision, the highway patrol reported. Killed were Leonard Breeden, 51, of Colby; James Perrott, 57, of Perryton, Texas; and Jerold Lamb, 66, of Florissant, Colo.

Six other people were transported to Citizens Medical Center in Colby for evaluation or treatment of injuries, according to the highway patrol.

Winds of 59 miles an hour were clocked at Colby an hour before the collision, said Randy Bowers, a meteorologist with the Goodland branch of the National Weather Service. Winds of 60 miles an hour were recorded in McCook, Neb., about 60 miles to the north.

“The winds were still pretty strong – I’d say 50 to 60 miles an hour – about the time that accident occurred,” Bowers said.