A Lancaster man was behind bars Wednesday awaiting arraignment on murder and other charges stemming from the hit-and-run death of a pedestrian in August 2018.
James Gonzalez, 39, is charged with one count each of murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and hit-and-run driving resulting in death or serious injury to another person, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The charges include allegations that Gonzalez has prior convictions for burglary in 2003 and assault with a firearm in 2016.
Gonzalez was arrested Jan. 15 by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies in connection with the Aug. 4, 2018, collision that killed Rodney Richard, 22, as he crossed the street at Lancaster Boulevard near Elm Avenue in Lancaster.
A white GMC Sierra traveling at an extremely high rate of speed in a 15 mph zone struck Richard and sped off without stopping, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Detectives from the Lancaster sheriff’s station unsuccessfully searched for months for the vehicle, with the county Board of Supervisors issuing a $10,000 reward in 2018 for information leading to the suspect and the city matching the $10,000 reward.
Detectives received an anonymous tip 14 months later, which resulted in three months of investigation that led them to identify Gonzalez as the suspect, according to the sheriff’s department.
He is set to appear Feb. 18 in a Lancaster courtroom.