RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. — Sgt. Steven Licon of the California Highway Patrol was killed by Michael Callahen in a 2019 DUI crash. On Friday, the 39-year-old man was sentenced to prison for 15 years to life after he was convicted in the sergeant’s death, according to prosecutors.
Callahen’s sentencing came five weeks after a jury convicted him of second-degree murder in Licon’s death, according to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
On April 6, 2019, Licon, 53, was engaged in a traffic stop the 15 Freeway in Lake Elsinore. He was standing along the right shoulder when he was struck by a Toyota Corolla being driven by Callahan, the DA’s office noted, KTLA reported.
Judge Timothy Freer has sentenced Michael Callahan to 15 years to life in prison for second-degree murder in the 2019 death of @ChpRiverside Sgt. Steve Licon. Callahan was DUI when he struck Licon on the shoulder of I-15 near Lake Elsinore.
— Riverside County DA's Office (@RivCoDA) October 1, 2021
Callahen was operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, officials said. He barreled into Licon while traveling at about 65 mph on the freeway’s right shoulder. The sergeant was rushed to a nearby hospital but did not survive the collision. He was a 27-year veteran of the CHP, according to KTLA.
The DA’s office chose to pursue the charge of second-degree murder against Callahan since he had a prior misdemeanor DUI conviction in Orange County in 2004. As part of the prior DUI conviction, he was required to attend a diversionary course in impaired driving under the terms of his probation. Therefore, the DA’s office successfully argued that he knew the dangers of drinking and driving, the release said.