Driver Pleads Guilty To 2nd Degree Murder Charges

A 52-year-old Redding man has decided to plead guilty to murder from a head-on crash in South Redding almost 3 years ago. At around 6:30AM the morning of March 26th, 2015 a Mitsubishi Eclipse driven by Vernon Simon Jr. was northbound on Highway 273 at a high rate of speed. Witnesses said Simon had run the red light at Happy Valley Road and when he approached the intersection of Canyon Road in front of Win-River Casino, his car drifted into the southbound side and smashed head-on into a Ford Thunderbird driven by 57-year-old Russell Hager of Redding. Hager was killed on impact. Simon was taken to Mercy Hospital with minor complaints of pain and then booked into jail. He was under the influence of Methamphetamine, Marijuana and Clonazepam, an anti-seizure medication. Simon was driving on a suspended license and was on probation from a prior DUI with injury from 2011. On Monday Simon pled guilty to 2nd degree murder and admitted a prior strike. When he’s sentenced in April he could get as much as 30 years in prison.

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