Coroner identifies striking Deere worker killed Wednesday near picket line

Local News

Rock Island County Coroner Brian Gustafson has identified Richard Rich, 56, of Moline, as the striking Deere worker killed early Wednesday near a picket line in Milan.

Rich died from multiple traumatic chest injuries, Gustafson said. An autopsy is scheduled today in Oregon, Ill.

An ongoing investigation is being conducted by Milan Police, Moline Police Department’s Accident Reconstruction Division and the Rock Island County Coroner’s Office.

Earlier: The national United Auto Workers Wednesday morning said members are mourning the death of a 56-year-old member of Milan Local 79, who was a 15-year employee at the Milan John Deere Parts Distribution Center. He was struck in a traffic crash and fatally injured while walking to the picket line.

“On behalf of the UAW and all working families, we mourn the passing of our UAW brother,” said Ray Curry, UAW president. “It is a somber time to lose a member who made the ultimate sacrifice in reporting to picket for a better life for his family and coworkers.”

The UAW will adhere to the policy to withhold the member’s name until family members are notified and decide to release their loved one’s information.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our brother who was reporting to the picket line. Our brother was fighting for what is right and we all mourn for his family and co-workers,” said Ron McInroy, director of UAW Region 4. “Through our tears, we continue to picket and honor the solidarity of our fallen brother. But we do this with heavy hearts today.”

UAW Vice President Chuck Browning, director of the Agriculture Implement Department said: “We are heartbroken over the tragic loss of our Brother. Our most sincere condolences go out to his family and his co-workers and they are all in our thoughts and prayers as they go through this difficult time. The entire UAW mourns today.”

Curry said the UAW flag will fly at half-staff in honor of their fallen brother.

UAW Local 79 suspended picketing for the remainder of Wednesday.

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