Deer Grove man to be tried for drug possession only on March 19

Alan Thompson

Editor’s note: A story published in Tuesday’s editions incorrectly reported that Thompson was set to be tried March 19 in both cases. The trial is only on the possession of a controlled substance charge.

MORRISON – A Deer Grove man charged with aggravated driving under the influence resulting in death in a head-on collision that took the life of a Walnut man Oct. 21, 2021, and also charged nine months later with possession of a controlled substance is set to be tried in the second, unrelated drug case March 19.

Alan. E. Thompson Jr., 52, faces one to four years if convicted of the drug possession charge, which was filed July 26, 2022, and accuses him of having less than 15 grams of cocaine four days earlier, court records show.

Whiteside County State’s Attorney Terry Costello’s office elected to try Thomson only on the possession charge, according to information filed Jan. 31 by Assistant State’s Attorney Ryan Simon.

Messages left with Simon to determine whether and when Thompson might be tried in the DUI case were not returned Wednesday.

Thompson faces three to seven years if convicted of DUI.

Regarding the traffic death, according to the Whiteside County Sheriff’s Office, Thompson was traveling north on Route 40 at the Green River Bridge north of Osage Road about 5:30 p.m. when he crossed the center line and struck a southbound vehicle being driven by Timothy D. Gonigam, 58.

Gonigam died at the scene.

Thompson, originally charged only with misdemeanor DUI, also is charged with driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, improper lane usage and failure to reduce speed, all misdemeanors or traffic offenses.

He was freed after posting $7,500 of his $75,000 bond March 31, 2021.

Gonigam worked for Astec Mobile Screens for 37 years, starting when it was Production Engineered Products in the Bureau County village of Walnut, and was the company’s president and general manager at the time of his death.

According to online court records, Thompson has a felony history in Whiteside County going back almost three decades.

In 2015, he was sentenced to four concurrent years on three counts of burglary. In 2005, he was sentenced to three years, six months – concurrent – on three counts of forgery. In 2004, he got two years for writing bad checks, and in 1997, he was sentenced to two and a half years of probation, also for forgery, court records show.

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.