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Crash survivors point to nearby farm fields as possible cause of dust storm

Hardin wreck.PNG
Posted at 7:00 PM, Jul 16, 2022

HARDIN — On Friday July 15, there was a multi-vehicle crash outside of Hardin when a deadly dust storm took over the region and reduced highway visibility to almost zero.

On Saturday, the stretch of highway that was affected showed almost no signs of what occurred less than 24 hours earlier. A disaster that left multiple casualties in its wake.

"The wind was blowing in one direction on the left side and another on the right. At first I wasn't sure if we were in a forming tornado or not," said Chad Baker, a survivor of the Hardin crash.

Chad and his son Cade were traveling from Billings to Sheridan, Wyoming and were caught in the middle of the storm as it unfolded. Chad said that normally in a traffic jam, he would just stay put and wait it out but he had a feeling he needed to get off the road.

"I made a split second decision to pull off the road and get out of the way," added Baker.

A decision that very well could've saved he and his sons life. Baker has thoughts on what caused the event as well.

"It's been very dry, the hay fields were exposed and when you add in over 60 mile per hour winds, I think that's what caused it," added Baker.

The wreck was an experience that everyone involved hopes they never have to experience again and it's one the Bakers will never forget.

"My heart goes out to the victims and their families. I'm just very thankful my son and I were able to come out of this safely," said Baker.