Valley News -

CHP sergeant killed after being struck by car on freeway, suspect arrested

Winchester man arrested after the crash


Last updated 4/16/2019 at Noon

Courtesy of California Highway Patrol

CHP Sgt. Steve Lincon was killed on Saturday, April 6 after being struck by a vehicle on Interstate 15, just outside Lake Elsinore.

LAKE ELSINORE - A veteran California Highway Patrol motorcycle sergeant was struck and killed by a car on Interstate 15 near Lake Elsinore on Saturday, April 6, and the driver was arrested on suspicion of various crimes, possibly including murder, CHP officials said.

Sgt. Steve Licon had pulled over a Chrysler sedan for a traffic stop at 4:26 p.m. Saturday on the right shoulder of the southbound side of the freeway north of Nichols Road when a gray Toyota Corolla slammed into Licon, his motorcycle and the Chrysler from behind, according to the CHP.

Prior to the crash, the Toyota had been driving recklessly, according to a CHP incident log.

The sergeant, who had been with the agency for 27 years, suffered major injuries and was airlifted to Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar, where he died of his wounds, the CHP said.

The crash snarled traffic and prompted authorities to close all southbound lanes until 3 a.m.

The driver of the Toyota, 36-year-old Michael Callahan of Winchester, was arrested at the scene and booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center on suspicion of murder, according to jail records.

He remained behind bars without bail.

In a release Sunday morning, the CHP said Callahan was arrested on suspicion of "multiple charges,'' including "driving under the influence.''

During a news conference Sunday afternoon, CHP officials said that although their investigation into the crash was in the early stages, evidence they've already collected supports recommending a murder charge for Callahan.

"We have uncovered evidence which shows gross negligence both during and before this tragic collision occurred,'' Cmdr. Mario Lucio said.

Callahan was the only person inside the Toyota and suffered minor injuries, the CHP said.

A family of four, including a man, woman and two girls in the Chrysler sedan were uninjured, according to the CHP.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said flags in the state's capitol will be flown at half-staff in honor of Licon.

"Today we mourn the loss of a husband and father of two who lost his life while protecting the state of California. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family, his friends and his many California Highway Patrol colleagues for their devastating loss,'' Newsom said.

Licon served with the agency in the Baldwin Park and Santa Ana offices before being assigned to the Riverside area in January 2013.

"Sgt. Licon was just an officer's sergeant. He was one of the guys but he was firm, he was strict and he held people accountable for [their] actions. I saw him as a mentor. I credit him for being where I'm at today, and that's the truth. The guy really spent time developing the people, the officers that he supervised,'' Lucio said.

Law enforcement personnel from various agencies gathered outside Inland Valley Medical Center on Saturday night to escort the hearse carrying Licon's body to the Riverside County coroner's office in Perris.

The procession was hundreds of vehicles long and included police and fire vehicle with their emergency lights flashing and sirens quiet.

A bell-toll tribute was scheduled to take place at the CHP Academy in West Sacramento on Monday morning and will be attended by CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley.

"Incredibly sad day for the family of Sgt Steve Licon, the CHP, & State of Calif. Sgt Licon was a great leader, valued member of the CHP family, & a dedicated public servant who sacrificed his life serving the people of Calif. Condolences to wife Ann, & daughters Marissa & Kelly,'' Stanley said in a tweet.

Lucio said anyone wanting to send support or donations to Licon's family should contact the CHP's Inland Division's public information office.


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