The Riverside Police Traffic Bureau pursued investigative leads and determined a black Mustang had been falsely reported stolen to conceal the identity of the driver responsible for the collision.
Information was then developed that led to the arrest of 20-year-old Ricardo Gamez of Oceanside. With the assistance of the Oceanside Police Department, Gamez was taken into custody Thursday afternoon.
He was later booked into Robert Presley Detention Center on the charge of felony hit and run. Additional charges are pending against those involved in the false report.
A newly released surveillance photo shows two cars believed to be on Monday. The photo shows a black Ford Mustang and a red or orange sports car described by authorities as an import vehicle, possibly an Acura Integra, with a gray or carbon fiber hood.
At that time, a blue Chevrolet Malibu was at a stop sign waiting to turn onto Magnolia Avenue. As the Malibu pulled out, it was struck by the Mustang.
Initial statements suggested that street racing was a related cause of the collision. However, at this point there are no further leads that would support the involvement of the described orange/red vehicle, Riverside Police said Thursday night.
Carly Rodriguez, who was sitting in a booster seat in the rear of the car, was critically injured in the crash. She was transported to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where she was being treated for head injuries. The girl's father, who was driving the Malibu, was not injured.
The driver of the Mustang apparently approached the occupants of the car he struck, but then fled on foot. The driver of the red/orange car sped away on Magnolia Avenue.
The driver of the Mustang was described as a Hispanic male in his mid-to-late 20s with roughly shoulder-length black hair. He was wearing a white shirt and black pants.
Riverside Police urged anyone with information related to the case to call (951) 826-8722.