Victims identified in vehicle-train crash that left 1 dead

Local News

UPDATE: The driver of the vehicle was identified as 65-year-old Robert J. Merrill of Erie, Illinois.

His vehicle was struck while crossing a railroad crossing on Smit Road neaer Moline road.

Robert was pronounced dead on the scene by the Whiteside County Coroner’s Office.

His 16-year-old daughter was in the front passenger seat, and was airlifted from the scene to Iowa City for life-threatening injuries.

As of Monday, April 27, she remains in serious condition.


On Saturday at about 12:35pm, the Whiteside County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a passenger vehicle and train collision at the railroad crossing at Moline Road and Smit Road in rural Whiteside County between the towns of Erie and Lyndon.

The vehicle, traveling north on Smit Road, crossed the railroad tracks just south of Moline Road and was struck on the driver’s side door by an eastbound Burlington Northern train.

The driver, a 65 year old male, was pronounced dead at the scene.

A front seat passenger, a 16 year old female and family member of the driver, was airlifted from the accident by Medforce to Iowa City for life threatening injuries.

No names will be released until after 8am on Monday, April 27.

The crash remains under investigation by the Whiteside County Sheriff’s Office.

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