Mourners pledge to “never forget” motorcyclist killed in hit-and-run crash

Corey Cottrell
Corey Cottrell of Normal was killed June 22 when a hit and run driver struck his motorcycle in Bloomington. (Corey Cottrell Facebook page)


By Howard Packowitz

BLOOMINGTON – Dozens of motorcycle riders revved up their engines Friday afternoon at Miller Park to honor Corey Cottrell, 39, from Normal, who died in a hit-and-run crash last month at Main Street and MacArthur Avenue.

The motorcycle procession went past the accident scene, and headed north into Normal.

Lisa Heck was one of many people wearing buttons showing Cottrell and his motorcycle, with the words “Never Forget.”

She says family and friends are willing to forgive Jose Rodriguez, 27, the undocumented immigrant from Honduras who allegedly drove the van without a license, ran a red light, and fled the scene.

“If it would have been 30 seconds prior, or a minute later, if he would have come through that stop a minute later, this would never have happened,” said Heck.

“Everything happens for a reason, so he will be forgiven,” she added.

“Corey was an amazing man, amazing father, amazing brother, amazing son,” said Hannah Ritter, another family friend.

“He just was very well loved, and it’s a shame. It really is,” Ritter said.

The memorial ride happened following a celebration of life service for Cottrell at Bloomington Church of Christ, and just hours after a judge ordered Rodriguez jailed again on a higher bond because of a federal immigration warrant.

Rodriguez has to post a $100,035 cash bond to be released, up from a $10,035 cash bond.

Howard Packowitz can be reached at


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