Charges increased in DUI case in which Sterling’s Astec president died

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MORRISON – A Deer Grove man charged with misdemeanor DUI in an Oct. 21 head-on crash that killed the president of Astec Mobile Screens in Sterling now is facing more serious felony charges.

The misdemeanor case against Alan E. Thompson, 49, was dismissed March 4 on a motion from the state that indicated the case was under review. A citation for improper lane usage also was dropped.

Thompson now is charged with aggravated DUI, which carries 3 to 7 years in prison, as well as misdemeanor DUI drugs and/or alcohol, improper lane usage, and failure to reduce speed.

He is free after posting $7,500 of his $75,000 bond, and has a hearing April 26.

According to the Whiteside County Sheriff’s Department, Thompson was northbound on state Route 40 at Green River Bridge north of Osage Road around 5:30 p.m. when he crossed the center line and struck the southbound vehicle being driven by Timothy D. Gonigam, 58, of Walnut.

Gonigam died at the scene; Thompson was treated at OSF St. Anthony’s Medical Center for serious, unspecified injuries.

Gonigam worked for Astec Mobile Screens for 37 years, starting when it was Production Engineered Products in Walnut; he was president and general manager at the time of his death.

Thompson has an extensive felony history in Whiteside County. In 2015, he was sentenced to 4 years, to be served concurrently, on three counts of burglary; in 2005, he was sentenced to 3 years, 6 months – concurrent – on three counts of forgery; in 2004, he got 2 years for writing bad checks; and in 1997, he was sentenced to two-and-a-half years probation, also for forgery.

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.