NEWPORT — The office of Lanee Danforth, Lincoln County District Attorney, dropped one of six initial charges levied against a former California law enforcement officer and current Seal Rock business owner accused of crashing a pickup truck while driving drunk last month, and later spitting on a hospital respiratory therapist.
During an early resolution conference on Monday, April 19, in Lincoln County Circuit Court in Newport, the district attorney’s office dropped an aggravated harassment charge against 53-year-old Leon Lee Limon and amended the conditions of his release from the Lincoln County Jail to allow Limon to have contact with the passenger injured in the March 18 single-vehicle accident. Limon is forbidden to discuss his case with his passenger until it’s resolved.
Limon still faces charges of DUII-alcohol, reckless driving, recklessly endangering another person (his passenger), fourth-degree assault (his passenger) and harassment against the hospital employee. He’s due back in court for the continuation of the resolution conference at 10 a.m. on May 17 in courtroom 300.
An Oregon State Police affidavit of probable cause accuses Limon of crashing a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado just after 7 p.m. March 18 on Highway 101 in Seal Rock.
OSP says that evidence from the scene indicates Limon was driving northbound and negotiating a sweeping curve in the road near milepost 152.2 when the pickup left the highway, veered onto the northbound shoulder before driving over a ditch and crashing. Airbags were reportedly deployed in the Chevy, which OSP says had considerable front-end damage.
The passenger suffered injuries to his ribs, back and neck and also broke a finger, according to the OSP report. He was treated at Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital in Newport.
The probable cause affidavit states that during an initial interview while being treated for unidentified injuries from inside an ambulance at the scene of the accident, Limon told law enforcement that he had been driving home from a Yachats bar and that he drove onto the highway shoulder to avoid a potential head-on collision with an oncoming vehicle attempting to pass another southbound vehicle.
Limon reportedly told the investigator that he was previously a longtime California police officer who instructed personnel in emergency vehicle training and had consumed two beers prior to driving. Limon refused to participate in field sobriety tests on scene.
“While I talked with (Limon) I began observing the following substance: a moderate odor of alcohol as I got close to him when he talked, bloodshot eyes, glassy/watery eyes, slurred speech at times, lethargic facial expression, droopy eyelids,” the OSP report reads.
While at the Newport hospital, OSP accuses Limon of having extreme mood swings and refusing to submit to a blood test after being read implied consent paperwork. Also at the hospital, Limon is accused of taking off his COVID-19-prevention facial covering and spitting at the respiratory therapist while they were tending to Limon, resulting in the harassment charge.
Limon and his business partners opened Seal Mart convenience store in December 2020. Previously, Limon served as a technical sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and as a deputy with the Contra Costa (Calif.) Sheriff’s Office before working 16 years with the Hayward (Calif.) Police Department. While in the traffic division at Hayward, Limon participated in DUI checkpoints and was involved with multiple efforts to improve traffic engineering and public safety. Limon retired in December 2017 from the Hayward Police Department.