MONROE COUNTY, Ill — A 23-year-old man was killed after his tractor collided with a train in Monroe County, Illinois, on Friday night.
According to Illinois State Police, Jonah Matthews was driving a tractor southwest across the tracks when he was hit and killed by a southbound train.
Merrill Prange said he and his wife had just gotten home from a picnic when he heard the crash.
"It just sounded like a huge explosion," he said. "We looked out and saw a big black plume of smoke."
Prange said Matthews was working to plant seeds right before the tragic accident.
"He worked as a hired hand and they were over there finishing up some planting," he said.
The crash happened near Bluff Road and Fults Road near the town of Fults. The train was carrying hazardous material, but it was in the back of the train, so it did not spill. It also caused several railcars to derail.
Monroe County officials said the tractor was thrown from tracks and landed in a field on the west side of the double tracks that run north-south through the western edge of Monroe County.
"The train hit the tractor hard enough," Prange said. "I think it tore the tractor in half. Half of it was on one side of the track. Half of it was on the other."
On Saturday, Matthews Obituary was posted to Quernheim Funeral Home's website. His is visitation is set for June 18 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Quernheim Funeral Home. His funeral is scheduled for June 19 at 11 a.m. at First Baptist Church in Waterloo.