California: Vernon Lee Simon charged with DUI murder in death of driver he hit in Redding; prior DUI on record

Vernon Lee Simon DUI drugs fatal crash Redding Calif 032615


03/26/2015 — According to Sgt. Brian Barner on March 26, 2015 at 6:31 am, the Redding Police Department responded to a major injury traffic collision at SR273 and Canyon Road. Officers arrived on scene and determined two vehicles had collided in the intersection. One driver was transported to the hospital and the other driver was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Traffic Investigators with the Redding Police Traffic Unit responded to the scene to conduct the investigation. It was determined that Vernon Lee Simon Jr., 49 years of Redding, was driving a white Mitsubishi Eclipse northbound on SR273. A witness following Simon observed him driving erratically and running a red light at SR273 and Happy Valley Road. Simon continued northbound on SR273 and approached the intersection with Canyon Road. For unknown reasons, Simon’s vehicle drifted into the southbound lanes on SR273 at the intersection. A white Ford Thunderbird was southbound on SR273 and was struck head-on by Simon’s vehicle. Both vehicles sustained major damage.

The driver of the white Ford Thunderbird was pronounced dead at the scene. The name of the driver is being withheld pending notification of family by the Shasta County Coroner’s Office.

Simon was transported by ambulance to a local hospital for complaint of pain. A Drug Recognition Expert with the Redding Police Department examined Simon at the hospital and determined he was driving under the influence of drugs. Simon was determined to be on probation for a prior DUI with injury arrest in 2011 and was driving on a suspended license.

Simon was released from the hospital and arrested. He was booked into the Shasta County Jail for homicide, DUI with major injury, violation of probation, driving on a suspended license causing injury, an outstanding warrant for failure to appear, and no insurance.

Anyone who witnessed the collision and did not provide a witness statement to officers is asked to contact the Redding Police Traffic Unit at 530-225-4200. Contact: Sergeant Brian Barner.

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