News Releases

April 7, 2020: Lancaster Man Charged with Murder for 2018 Fatal Hit-And-Run Crash

Ricardo Santiago, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

A 39-year-old man has been charged with murder for allegedly running over a pedestrian and fleeing the scene almost two years ago, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today.

James Leonel Gonzalez aka Hustler (dob 10/12/80) of Lancaster faces 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.

Deputy District Attorney David Delgado said the felony complaint includes allegations that the defendant fled the scene of the crime.

Arraignment is scheduled today in Department A01 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Antelope Valley Branch. Case MA078083 was filed on January 17.

Gonzalez was reportedly driving his pick-up truck at a high rate of speed near Lancaster Boulevard and Elm Avenue when he ran over Rodney Richard, 22, on Aug. 4, 2018, the prosecutor said. Richard died as a result of the injuries and the defendant fled the scene, the prosecutor added.

Bail is set at more than $3 million. Gonzalez faces a possible maximum sentence of 43 years to life in state prison.

The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Lancaster Station.