BILLINGS — The Big Horn County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, July 20, 2022, confirmed the identities of six people who died in a multi-car crash on Friday, July 15.
The pile-up happened along I-90 just west of the town of Hardin, and was caused by a sudden dust storm that reduced visibility to near zero, resulting in at least 20 vehicles crashing.
Four people in a Chevrolet Traverse were killed: 72-year-old Georgia Walks of Hardin (driver); 22-year-old Shaylee Walks; 11-year-old Vichelle Walks; and 3-year-old Merrik Champ.
Funeral services for all three members of the Walks family are set for 10 a.m. on Thursday at the Spirit of Life Foursquare Church in Crow Agency. Champ's funeral is set for Friday at 10 a.m. at the St. Dennis Catholic Church in Crow Agency.
Chad Fox of St. Xavier, 47 years old, died as a passenger in a GMC Sierra. The driver - his father Harvey Fox, 79 - was taken to Big Horn County Memorial Hospital with serious injuries and then taken to Billings Clinic for more advanced care.
Eric Love, 60 years old, was previously identified as the driver of a Mercedes Sprinter Van who died. Love was the founder of Crosscut Mountain Sports Center, a Bozeman-area recreational facility. Crosscut identified Love as the victim on its website. His wife, Jacquie Love, was seriously injured and also taken to a Billings hospital.
Survivors of the crash described the fear and chaos.
“As we got closer into the dust storm, you could start seeing the vehicles in the ditch. There was a camper, the whole side of it was blown off, the top was off of it. Front ends of vehicles were smashed in," said Landa Uffelman.
“We couldn’t even see like ten feet in front of us so we immediately hit our brakes. On both sides, there were cars braked and stopped, and then I saw a van that was just pancaked into the back of a semi. And then behind it, there were about 20-30 vehicles that were piling up on each other," said Tom Howe, who had passed through the scene.
“It was like a snowstorm but dust it was very low visibility, it was like fog. It reminded me of very dense fog," Ariel Dehart told MTN News.
Sheyenne Scheeler saw several cars that were crushed. She called the incident "gut wrenching," and said: “The first thing that we saw was a pickup that had been pulling a camper and the camper looked like it had been ripped open like a can. And then after that we started seeing more cars that had rear ended."
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