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

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Rodney Richard is seen in a photo provided by his family.

Rodney Richard is seen in a photo provided by his family.

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Nearly a year and a half after a hit-and-run crash left a 22-year-old man dead in central Lancaster, an anonymous tip has led to an arrest in the case, officials said Wednesday.

James Gonzalez, a 39-year-old Lancaster resident, was arrested on a murder warrant following three months of investigation into the tip, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.

He’s accused in the death of Rodney Richard Jr., who was fatally struck by a GMC pickup along Lancaster Boulevard in the early morning hours of Aug. 4, 2018.

Detectives say Richard was crossing the street from parking spots in the center median near Elm Avenue, an area lined with many businesses and eateries.

Surveillance video showed him trying to run away just before being hit by the large white truck. First responders took Richard to a hospital, where he later died.

The GMC Sierra was driving at an “extremely” high speed in a 15 mph zone, deputies said.

Officials began investigating Gonzalez after getting the anonymous tip last October, and an arrest warrant was issued this month. The suspect was taken into custody two weeks ago, on Jan. 15.

He was being held without bail and scheduled to appear in court Feb. 18, booking records show.

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