A Perry couple was among nearly 20 people injured Sunday when high winds and blowing dust and debris caused a massive multi-vehicle pileup on Interstate 70 in Colorado.
Leo and Jo Mulvihill were traveling from Denver home to Perry in a rented van, relatives said. Jo Mulvihill was in Denver's St. Anthony's Hospital Monday where she was flown by a helicopter ambulance. A hospital spokeswoman said she was in fair condition.
Leo Mulvihill also was injured but was being brought back to Perry Monday by relatives, said Kim Kreicker, who was speaking for the family Monday.
The Mulvihill's were not the only ones in the van, Kreicker said. Also traveling with them were their two daughters, Julie Mulvihill, of Perry, and Jane Mulvihill Jones and her 3-year-old daughter Kate, from the Kansas City area, Kreicker said. They were not hurt.
The daughters were able to climb out of the van and take Kate with them, fearing that the van might explode. They later returned to check on Leo and Joe, Kreicker said.
"Jane said they thought they had been hit 15 or 20 times," Kreicker said. "To get out of the van they had to climb out a side window and onto the top of the car next to them. There was actually flying mud. Their eyes and ears were full of mud."
The 17-vehicle accident closed the highway for nearly five hours from Burlington, Colo. to the Kansas state line. Three tractor-trailers were involved in the accident, a spokesman for the Colorado Highway Patrol said.
In Kansas authorities stopped westbound traffic on I-70 at Goodland. The highway was reopened in both states at 4 p.m. Sunday.
The pile-up occurred after high winds kicked up a dust storm in southeastern Colorado late Sunday morning. There were no fatalities, the Highway Patrol said.