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