Several emergency agencies responded shortly after 8 p.m. Friday to a fatal crash involving a train and a farm tractor with multiple train cars derailed in the area of Fults Road at Bluff Road in rural Monroe County.
Fire and smoke were seen upon the arrival of responders. Among the responding agencies were the Maeystown, Prairie du Rocher, Valmeyer, Waterloo and Columbia fire departments, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, Monroe County EMA and Monroe County EMS.
Union Pacific officials were dispatched to the scene as well as Illinois State Police and the Monroe County Coroner’s Office.
Monroe County Coroner Bob Hill identified the deceased as 23-year-old Jonah Matthews of Waterloo.
“Mr. Matthews was driving a tractor southwest across the tracks when he was struck and killed by a southbound train,” Hill stated in a Saturday morning press release. “The collision resulted in the derailment of numerous railcars.”
Illinois State Police Lt. Ken Guard said the train was carrying hazardous materials, but those railcars were at the rear of the rather large train procession and did not spill.
Police added there were no gates at the rural train crossing.
Matthews, who worked as a farmhand for Ken Hartman Jr., was a member of First Baptist Church in Waterloo and the Monroe County Farm Bureau Young Leaders. While at Waterloo High School, Matthews was an FFA Star Farmer and earned a state FFA degree.
He is survived by parents David and Debra Matthews; brothers Joshua (Jamie) Matthews, Jacob (Kristen) Matthews, Jordan (Brook) Matthews, Jeremiah Matthews and Jesse Matthews; plus numerous other relatives and friends.
Visitation is from 4-8 p.m. June 18 at Quernheim Funeral Home in Waterloo and 10 a.m. until time of service June 19 at First Baptist Church of Waterloo.
The funeral service is 11 a.m. June 19 at the church, Pastor Daryl Skaer officiating.