A 39-year-old man received a prison sentence of 15 years to life for the murder of a California Highway Patrol sergeant who was killed in a 2019 DUI crash in Lake Elsinore, prosecutors announced Friday.
Michael Callahen’s sentencing came five weeks after a jury convicted him of second-degree murder in the death of 53-year-old CHP Sgt. Steven Licon, according to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
On April 6, 2019, Licon had conducted a traffic stop on the 15 Freeway and was standing along the right shoulder when he was struck by a Toyota Corolla being driven by Callahan, a DA’s office news release stated.
At the time, the Winchester man was driving while intoxicated, officials said. His vehicle had been going about 65 mph on the freeway’s right shoulder prior to the deadly crash
Licon suffered major injuries and was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he later died. The sergeant was a 27-year veteran of the CHP.
Callahan’s car also hit the car that was pulled over, but the occupants were unharmed.
The DA’s office opted to charge Callahan with second-degree murder because he had a prior misdemeanor DUI conviction in Orange County in 2004 and — in theory — knew the dangers of drinking and driving, the release stated.
He was required to attend Mothers Against Drunk Driving courses under the terms of his probation in the 2004 case, prosecutors added.