updated 2/16/2006 9:04:23 AM ET 2006-02-16T14:04:23

A dust storm caused four separate car accidents on an interstate Wednesday, leaving two people dead and 12 injured and closing the highway for hours, authorities said.

High winds and blowing dust reduced visibility to near zero, triggering the wrecks in the westbound lanes of Interstate 8 near Stanfield, about 50 miles south of Phoenix, said Jim Oien, Department of Public Safety spokesman.

Eight vehicles were involved in the collisions, which occurred around 10:30 a.m., Oien said. Both lanes of the highway were closed until 6:30 p.m.

Celia Sylvester, 78, of Oregon, was pronounced dead at the scene, and her husband, Robert Sylvester, 86, died at a hospital, officials said. Their son, Dennis Sylvester, 57, was treated for minor injuries.

Nine others were taken to hospitals and two were treated and released at the scene, authorities said. Their conditions were not immediately known.

Television footage showed a tangle of several big rigs, a motor home, a trailer and several passenger cars across several lanes of the interstate and its median.

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