ATASCADERO — The California Highway Patrol is asking for the public’s help in locating the driver involved a hit-run crash Wednesday morning, April 3, on Highway 101 south of Traffic Way in Atascadero.
CHP is looking for Richard L. Gonzalez, 39, of Creston, in connection to the collision.
According to witnesses, a white 2002 Ford F-150 4-door pickup, reportedly driven by Gonzalez, made an unsafe lane change into the No. 3 lane of southbound Highway 101 near the exit at Traffic Way in Atascadero shortly after 9 a.m. and drove into the right side of a 2015 Toyota Tacoma pickup driven by Richard Jennings, 48, of Atascadero, who was traveling northbound on Highway 101 in the third lane at a speed of 55 mph.
Jennings was going to exit at Traffic Way.
The force of the collision caused the Tacoma to veer out of control off the freeway, through a perimeter fence where it hit a large oak tree before coming to rest in Denny’s parking lot on El Camino Real.
Witnesses told officers they saw the driver of the Ford F-150 pull over on the Traffic Way off ramp. He took all of the vehicle’s paperwork out of the glove box and fled off the highway, over a perimeter fence toward El Camino Real. He reportedly left several items of personal identification in the F-150, such as a California photo ID and a laptop computer.
The Ford F-150 was impounded for evidence and Gonzalez is being sought by authorities.
If anyone knows his whereabouts, they are asked to call the local CHP office at 805-434-1822.