LANCASTER – A man was sentenced Friday to 22 years behind bars for driving while impaired, resulting in a crash that killed a pedestrian in Lancaster.
James Gonzalez, 40, was initially charged with murder and other counts stemming from the Aug. 4, 2018, collision that killed 22-year-old Rodney Richard Jr. as he crossed Lancaster Boulevard near Elm Avenue.
Gonzalez pleaded no contest to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
He was behind the wheel of a white GMC Sierra that was traveling at an extremely high rate of speed in a 15 mph zone when it 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 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 was arrested in January of 2020 and has remained behind bars since then.
Previous related stories: