FARGO -- The Fargo man identified as the driver of a pickup truck that crashed into a southbound train Saturday morning was a longtime North Dakota resident.

The family of Gerald Sinclair, 80, of Fargo, is waiting for officials to confirm that he was inside his pickup truck when it collided with a BNSF Railway train just before 9 a.m., his son Brad Sinclair said Wednesday.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

The obituary for Gerald “Jerry” Sinclair appeared in The Forum on Wednesday and said he “died suddenly in a car accident on Saturday.”

Sinclair spent most of his life in North Dakota.

He attended high school in Larimore, N.D., and met Shirley Paupst, who would be his wife for 51 years, according to his obituary.

Sinclair worked for a telephone company in Lakota, N.D., before he joined the U.S. Army at Fort Bliss in Texas, where his two sons, Brad and Craig Sinclair, were born, his obituary says.

Sinclair and his family moved back to North Dakota and welcomed two daughters, Dee and Nanette Sinclair. The family lived in various communities in eastern North Dakota including Grafton, Valley City and Grand Forks, but last resided in Fargo.

Sinclair retired from his job with a telephone company at 51, which freed up time for his hobby of remodeling an old farmstead and two lake homes with his son, Brad.

He was involved in many of the “electrical projects,” in those ventures, according to his obituary.

“He cherished the time he spent with his children and grandchildren, sharing stories from the old days,” the obituary read.

His wife died in 2008.

The pickup he was driving burst into flames when the train hit it at a crossing south of Moorhead. The train pushed the vehicle about one-third of a mile before it came to a stop.

The Clay County Sheriff’s office is working with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office to scientifically identify the body, which was badly burned in the incident.

Sheriff Bill Bergquist said Saturday that the crossing arms were down and one appeared to be damaged. Bergquist said his office can’t confirm whether it was Sinclair in the car until those tests come back.