MARTINEZ — Contra Costa prosecutors have charged vehicular manslaughter and reckless driving against an East Bay man who allegedly crashed a pickup truck into another vehicle while driving the wrong way on Highway 4, causing a 50 year-old driver was killed.
Michael Renard Armstrong, 53, of Richmond, was charged with murder on Monday 50-year-old James Kuang in the December 13, 2022 crash. Armstrong was also accused of fleeing the crash by allegedly running onto nearby BART tracks in a failed attempt to evade police. BART agents arrested him on the grounds of the transit agency, authorities say.
Armstrong reportedly was driving the wrong way in a Dodge Durango on the eastbound lanes of Highway 4 in Pittsburg when he reportedly crashed into Kuang’s Honda Accord around 11 a.m., authorities say. Kuang was killed and a passenger was seriously injured.
After being arrested, Armstrong was hospitalized and put into a medical coma, authorities say. At the time, police suspected Armstrong was under the influence of a controlled substance, but no charges were filed for drunk driving.
He is being held in Dublin’s Santa Rita Prison, without bail, on federal charges for allegedly violating the terms of his supervised release for a 2020 felony conviction in possession of a firearm. In that case, Armstrong admitted to carrying a loaded .22 caliber handgun at a Kaiser Hospital in Richmond while suffering from a mental health-related delusion, according to court documents.
Armstrong was sentenced to 21 months in prison via a plea deal between his attorney and federal prosecutors.
Armstrong’s criminal history includes a 2002 incident where he shot a man in the buttocks for allegedly dating Armstrong’s girlfriend. Court papers say Armstrong “devised a ruse” to lure the victim out of his apartment and confronted him with the gun. When police arrested him, he claimed to be a “defense minister” for a prison gang.
In 2006, he was charged with possession of a shaft at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego County, court documents show. In 2016, he was sentenced to 16 months in prison for illegal gun possession after a gun was found near where Armstrong crashed a motorcycle in Oakland, according to the indictment.
Because he is still in federal custody, Armstrong’s first trial has not yet been scheduled. He is expected to be transferred to the Contra Costa prison system in the coming weeks