LAKE ELSINORE (CBSLA) — A California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer was fatally struck by a vehicle on Interstate 15 just outside of Lake Elsinore Saturday afternoon.
The officer’s cycle appeared to be pinned between two vehicles.
The officer was airlifted to a hospital, authorities said. The unidentified officer was declared dead at the hospital, officials said.
The crash was reported at 4:26 p.m. on the southbound side of the freeway just north of Nichols Road, according to CHP.
Initial reports from the scene said that the driver of a gray Toyota was driving recklessly and struck the officer, who was on the right shoulder.
An air ambulance landed on the freeway to transport the officer to a hospital, the CHP said.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department issued a tweet on Saturday identifying the deceased as Sgt. Steve Licon.
A large procession of police, law enforcement personnel and first responders saluted Licon’s flag-draped body as it left the Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar bound for the coroner’s office in Perris.
Licon got a special mention about his family and his service from CHP headquarters on Twitter: “Our hearts are heavy after the immeasurable loss of a friend, father, husband, and hero. Sergeant Steve Licon, #13348, of the CHP Riverside Area made the ultimate sacrifice today while serving his community. Rest easy brother, we have the watch from here.”
The crash prompted authorities to shut down all southbound lanes, causing a seven-mile traffic jam as of 5:30 p.m., with some drivers reportedly using the shoulder to escape the congestion.
The CHP said motorists were being diverted off the freeway via the Lake Street exit. By 6 p.m., one lane of the northbound side of the freeway was opened.
Licon is survived by his wife, Ann, daughter Marissa and stepdaughter Kelly.
Acting Governor Kounalakis has ordered Capitol flags to be flown at half-staff.