Judge denies motion to vacate guilty ruling

The families and friends of Dakota Morrison and Diane Gonzalez returned to the Randolph County Courthouse on Nov. 20 to protest a motion to vacate a judge’s order.

The group was previously at the courthouse on Nov. 6. That day, a traffic court hearing was being held for Nicholas Cook of DuQuoin. Cook was facing a singular charge of improper lane usage, a result of a fatal accident that took place on April 22, 2022 in Steeleville.

The initial report from the Illinois State Police said that Cook, 34 at the time, was eastbound on Broadway Street in Steeleville in a 2022 Chevrolet Silverado and for unknown reasons crossed the westbound lane, striking a 2013 Harley Davidson that was stopped at a stop sign at the intersection of James Street and Broadway. The motorcycle’s driver, Morrison, 26, of Chester, and his passenger, Gonzalez, 31, of Steeleville, were fatally injured in the crash.

For more on this case, please see this week’s print edition.