CHP: Driver lied about hit-and-run

The Tribune (SLO) - - Local - BY LINDSEY HOLDEN Lindsey Holden: 805-781-7939, @lind­seymholden

A Cre­ston man who told the CHP that some­one stole his truck be­fore it was in­volved in a hi­tand-run has been ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of both the felony crash and the ap­par­ent tall tale that fol­lowed it.

On April 3, Richard Gon­za­lez, 39, al­legedly made an un­safe lane change on High­way 101 while driv­ing north in his Ford F-150 near the Atascadero Traf­fic Way exit, strik­ing a Toy­ota Ta­coma, ac­cord­ing to the CHP.

The Ta­coma then veered out of con­trol off the free­way, crashed through a fence and hit a tree near the Denny’s res­tau­rant, send­ing the driver to the hos­pi­tal with mod­er­ate in­juries.

Af­ter the crash, Gon­za­lez al­legedly grabbed his ve­hi­cle pa­per­work from the glove box and took off run­ning to­ward Atascadero, leaving his lap­top, ID and other items be­hind.

The CHP re­quested in­for­ma­tion about Gon­za­lez’s where­abouts, and he later turned him­self into au­thor­i­ties.

How­ever, he claimed his pickup had been stolen prior to the in­ci­dent and said he was not the driver in­volved in the crash.

Fol­low­ing a three-week in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the CHP de­ter­mined Gon­za­lez was the driver in­volved in the crash. Of­fi­cers ad­vised Gon­za­lez of the investigative find­ings and his fab­ri­cated alibi and gave him an op­por­tu­nity to turn him­self into au­thor­i­ties, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease.

Gon­za­lez was seen Fri­day morn­ing walk­ing on Santa Lu­cia Road south of Traf­fic Way in Atascadero, and a CHP of­fi­cer took him into cus­tody. He was ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of felony hi­tand-run, as well as giv­ing false in­for­ma­tion to a peace of­fi­cer and fil­ing a false po­lice re­port.

Gon­za­lez is be­ing held at San Luis Obispo County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail, as of Fri­day af­ter­noon.

Richard Gon­za­lez

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