Gonzales, 19, Tustin, pleaded guilty to one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated, one felony count of hit and run with death, one misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance, one misdemeanor count of use and under the influence of a controlled substance, one misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance paraphernalia, and a sentencing enhancement allegation for fleeing the scene of a vehicular manslaughter.
According to the Orange County District Attorney's office, at approximately 6:55 a.m. on Feb. 2, 2014, Gonzales drove under the influence of methamphetamine in her Toyota Corolla sedan southbound on Santiago Canyon Road, in unincorporated Orange County near Loma Ridge Road, and veered into the bike lane.
She struck 21-year-old Joseph Robinson, who was riding his bike within the marked bike lane. Gonzales fled the scene without stopping to render any assistance to the victim or reporting the accident. A witness, who was driving in the vicinity of the hit and run, saw substantial damage to Gonzales' vehicle and called 911 to give a description of her car.
The Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD) deputies found the Gonzales and her vehicle approximately 45 minutes after the crash in a parking lot in Rancho Santa Margarita, where damage was observed to her car consistent with being involved in a serious collision. According to the OCSD, Gonzales displayed objective signs of being under the influence of a controlled substance and had methamphetamine and a pipe in her possession. She later tested positive for methamphetamine in her blood.
The same witness that reported the defendant's vehicle to police found Robinson severely injured by the side of the road. The victim suffered severe blunt force trauma and was pronounced dead at the scene.
OCSD and the California Highway Patrol investigated this case. Deputy District Attorney Stephen Cornwell of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.