According to the ABC Los Angeles website, a suspected DUI driver, has been convicted of DUI, second-degree murder for his role in the death of a California Highway Patrol officer who was writing a ticket to a motorist along Interstate 15 near Lake Elsinore in 2019.
Court documents indicate that 39-year-old Joseph Michael Callahan was convicted of second-degree murder and a sentence enhancement of causing great bodily harm to the CHP officers.
During closing arguments, Deputy District Attorney Carlos Managas told the court that on April 6, 2019, Calahan’s friends and coworkers “begged and implored him not to get behind the wheel of his car.”
On that day, the defendant allegedly spent as many as five hours at Big Al’s Sports Bar in Ontario, consuming 22-oz beers and several shots of tequila after the workday.
After leaving the bar, Calahan sideswiped at least two other vehicles with his own and almost rammed his Toyota Corolla into a concrete divider along the 91 Freeway before getting onto the southbound lanes of Interstate 5.
Prosecutors showed jurors dashcam video from another motorist showing Callahan speeding and driving recklessly, sometimes on the freeway’s shoulder to get around other slower-moving vehicles.
A veteran CHP motorcycle officer was writing a ticket to a motorist in a Chrysler when Callahan’s Toyota Corolla, traveling at speeds investigators estimate was between 70 and 80 miles per hour, struck the officer. The crash also struck the officer’s motorcycle, and the stopped Chrysler sedan.
The officer was rushed to Inland Valley Medical Center, where he later died due to injuries he suffered in the crash. The occupants of the Chrysler and Callahan suffered only minor injuries.
Investigators found that at the time of the fatal crash, Callahan had a blood-alcohol level well over twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
Callahan’s sentence was pronounced in Riverside County Superior Court on Friday, October 1.