What to do if you’ve been in a car accident
Prosecutors on Tuesday filed a felony and three misdemeanor charges against a Creston man who allegedly concocted a story about his truck being stolen after the vehicle was involved in a hit and run.
The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office filed charges against Richard Lawrence Gonzalez including leaving the scene of an accident, falsely reporting a theft, giving false information to a police officer and making a false report of a criminal act .
A spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office was not immediately available Tuesday afternoon, but the criminal complaint states that Gonzalez, 39, faces a maximum of four and a half years in County Jail if convicted on all charges.
On April 3, someone driving Gonzalez’s Ford F-150 made an unsafe lane change on Highway 101 while driving north near the Atascadero Traffic Way exit, striking a Toyota Tacoma, according to the CHP.
The Tacoma careened off the roadway, crashed through a fence and hit a tree near the Denny’s restaurant, sending the driver to the hospital with moderate injuries.
The CHP says that after the crash, Gonzalez pulled his vehicle paperwork from the glove box and fled on foot toward Atascadero, leaving behind his laptop, ID and other items.
The agency publicly requested information about Gonzalez’s whereabouts, and he later turned himself into authorities, claiming his pickup had been stolen prior to the incident and that he was not involved in the crash.
After investigating for three weeks, the CHP determined Gonzalez was indeed the driver 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.
He was spotted by police on April 26 walking on Santa Lucia Road south of Traffic Way in Atascadero and taken into custody.
Though he had previously been held at the County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail, Gonzalez was no longer listed as of Tuesday.