Tractor driver killed in collision on Route 40 south of Rock Falls

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ROCK FALLS – One person was killed Wednesday morning when the tractor that he was driving was hit by a semitractor-trailer on Route 40 at the intersection of Route 172/Star Road south of Rock Falls, according to a news release from Whiteside County Sheriff John Booker.

The crash happened about 9:20 a.m. The driver of the tractor, who was traveling north on Route 40, was turning west onto 172 when the northbound semi entered the southbound lane to overtake the tractor and the two vehicles collided at the intersection and went off the northwest side of the road, according to a news release.

The tractor driver died at the scene.

The semi driver, who is from the Chicago area, was treated at CGH Medical Center in Sterling and released, Booker said.

Neither man was identified. Next of kin still is being notified, no citations were issued and the investigation continues, according to the release.

The crash, which closed Route 40 until about 3:30 p.m., occurred about 7 miles northeast of the scene of a triple fatal collision at Hahnaman and Luther roads that happened about 1 p.m. March 28. Three Tampico teens who were traveling north in a pickup truck that failed to stop at a stop sign were struck by a semi that was traveling east on Hahnaman, Booker said.

Jayden Hanson and Channing Swertfeger, both 14, and Douglas “DJ” Dorathy Jr., 16, all Prophetstown-Lyndon-Tampico High School/Middle School students, died at the scene.

The teen pickup driver and the driver of that semi, a Whiteside County man, have not been identified. The teen was treated for injuries that were not life-threatening, and the semi driver was not injured, Booker said.

That crash also remains under investigation.

Kathleen Schultz

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.