Man faces murder charges in crash that killed CHP veteran

LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. -- A man faces murder charges after he hit a California Highway Patrol officer on Interstate 15 in Lake Elsinore this weekend, the agency announced Sunday.

Sgt. Steve Licon, 53, died at the Inland Valley Medical Center following the 4:30 p.m. crash on the southbound side of I-15 just north of Nichols Road, CHP spokesman Ramon Duran said.

Michael Callahan, 36, of Winchester, was allegedly driving under the influence when his Toyota Corolla hit Licon, his patrol motorcycle, and the Chrysler sedan that the sergeant had pulled over on the right shoulder of the freeway, KTLA reported.

Callahan, the sole occupant of the Corolla, sustained minor injuries, CHP said in a statement. The four people inside the Chrysler were not hurt, the agency said.

"We have uncovered evidence which shows gross negligence both during and before this tragic collision," a CHP spokesperson said.

Callahan was taken into custody for multiple possible charges, including DUI and murder, Duran told KTLA. CHP is expected to provide further details at a 1 p.m. news conference on Sunday.

Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department initially reported transporting at least three people, including Licon, to the hospital.

Officials shut down the southbound lanes from Indian Truck Trail to Nichols Road for several hours before reopening them early Sunday.

Licon was a 27-year veteran with CHP, Duran said, describing the Riverside division sergeant as "very well-liked by everyone that came in contact with him."

Licon left behind a wife and two daughters, according to CHP. His family, along with his colleagues, other law enforcement officials and members of the public gathered late Saturday as a procession escorted Licon's body to the Riverside County Coroner's Office.

"Our hearts are heavy after the immeasurable loss of a friend, father, husband, and hero," CHP said in a statement on Facebook. "Rest easy brother, we have the watch from here."

Licon "gave his life protecting & serving his community," LAPD Chief Michel Moore tweeted.

“Today we mourn the loss of a husband and father of two who lost his life while protecting the State of California," Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement Saturday.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.