No charges in death of striking Deere worker

Local News

The State’s Attorney Office, Rock Island County released its official report on the death of a striking Deere worker in October.

Richard Rich, 56, of Moline was killed Oct. 27 after being struck by a car while striking for UAW against Deere and Company near a picket line in Milan. Rich was a member of Local 79 and a 15-year employee at the Milan John Deere parts distribution plant.

An investigation was conducted by Milan Police, Moline Police Department’s Accident Reconstruction Division and the Rock Island County Coroner’s Office. Dr. Mark Peters conducted an autopsy the same day of the incident in Peoria County. The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the chest and a motor vehicle collision.

According to the report:

“On Wednesday October 27, 2021 at approximately 6:02am, Milan police responded to a vehicle versus pedestrian traffic crash at the intersection of the Rock Island Milan Parkway and Deere Drive. Upon arrival, officers rendered aid to a male victim laying on the road of the intersection, that was surrounded by subjects attempting to give CPR.

“Officers spoke with a driver of a gray Ford Transit XLT Van, parked along the right shoulder of the southwest corner of the intersection.

“The driver informed officers he worked for a medical transport company and was on his way to pick up a patient while driving southbound on the Rock Island-Milan Parkway.

“He estimated traveling at approximately 55 to 60 miles per hour when he struck something and pulled over. It was not until he stepped out of his vehicle that he saw a person laying on the road.

“The driver stated that he had a green traffic light and that he did not see a pedestrian crossing the road until after the crash.

“The driver showed no indication of impairment and stated he did not drink any alcoholic beverage nor is he on any medications.”

State’s Attorneys Office, Rock Island County

Following the investigation, the State’s Attorneys Office issued an official opinion:

“At this time, there is insufficient evidence to charge the driver of the Ford Transit with any traffic or felony charges. There is no significant evidence that he was driving recklessly, under the influence or in any way intentionally caused this accident to occur. The driver did not flee from the scene, was cooperative with law enforcement and his statements were corroborated by other witness accounts.

“If further evidence is discovered, this office will review it carefully, however, at this time there wili be no charges filed in connection with the pedestrian collision on October 27, 2021. Our deepest condolences are with the victim’s family and friends after this very tragic accident.”

State’s Attorneys Office, Rock Island County

To view the report from the State’s Attorneys Office, click here.

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