As the late planting season continues, so does the the risk for tractor accidents. When a tragedy happens in the farming community, we reach out to one another and help each other out when times get tough. Late Friday night a farm tractor tragically collided with a Union Pacific Train in Monroe County, Illinois.
The Illinois State Police identified Jonah Matthews of Waterloo, Illinois as the young man who died in a tragic accident when the equipment he was driving collided with a train in downtown Fults. Matthews was 23-year-old hired hand following his passion for agriculture by working at a local farm. Like many other farmers dealing with this wet spring, Jonah was trying to finish up planting in the bottoms before the next big rain when the accident occurred around 8 p.m. on Friday evening.
According to a Monroe County Independent Facebook status, Matthews was very active in his faith and farming community. “While attending Waterloo High School (Class of 2014), Jonah was active in the FFA and earned a State Degree and was named a Star Farmer. He was also a member of the Monroe County Farm Bureau’s Young Leaders.”
The crash between the train and the tractor caused several railroad cars to derail. The train was also carrying hazardous material, but thankfully it was in the back of the train and did not spill. The police also said there were no gates at the rural train crossing.
Monroe County Coroner Bob Hill was called to the scene soon after the first deputies arrived on the scene. According to Coroner Hill, Matthews was driving a tractor southwest across the tracks when he was struck and killed by a southbound train.
Our deepest sympathies go out to the his family, friends, and the close-knit Monroe County farm community.