A freight train carrying liquefied propane gas collided with a truck and derailed into a grain elevator yesterday in eastern Michigan, killing one person and injuring eight, officials reported.

Fifteen or 20 families were evacuated from their homes in Gera, about 70 miles northwest of Detroit.

The dead man was identified by police as Howard J. Rohner, 55, manager of the Star of the West Milling Co. grain elevator. "The truck is in bits and pieces lying hither and yon and so is our office," said Don Gruns, plant manager for Star of the West.

State police Sgt. Michael Dyer said the Train struck a truck, derailed and slammed into a grain elevator. Another state police sergeant, Carl Anwert, said the train apparently "was ghit by a truck" and the impact caused the train to derail.

In another railroad mishap, the 800 residents of Sturgeon, Mo., were evacuated before dawn yesterday after a railroad tank car carrying a caustic, flammable substance collapsed and ruptured.

Jim Patty, Boone County civil defense director, said 20,000 gallons of chlorophenol leaked from the tank car and became semi-solidified by the cold air. Residents said the substance smelled "like the brakes on your car burning."