Driver Arrested in Lancaster Hit-and-Run That Left 22-Year-Old Man Dead

A Lancaster man has been arrested and charged with murder and other felonies related to the hit-and-run death of 22-year-old Rodney Richard in August 2018, authorities announced. 

James Gonzalez, 39, is charged with 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. 

Gonzalez was arrested Jan. 15, 2020, by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies in connection with the Aug. 4, 2018, collision that killed Rodney Richard 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 in October 2019 which resulted in three months of investigation that led them to identify Gonzalez as the suspect, according to the sheriff’s department. Gonzalez is set to appear Feb. 18 in a Lancaster courtroom.