Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
July 17, 2009
Susan Kang Schroeder
THIRD-STRIKER FACES TRIAL FOR MURDERING PREGNANT GIRLFRIEND AND UNBORN BABY IN
HIGH SPEED CRASH WHILE UNDER THE
INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL
SANTA ANA – A third-striker faces trial Monday on charges of murdering his pregnant girlfriend and her unborn 5-month-old baby by crashing into a tree at more than 60 mph while under the influence of alcohol. Danny Calvin Ruiz, 36, Laguna Hills, was charged in May 2008 with two felony counts of murder and was indicted on these charges by the grand jury on Dec. 22, 2008. Ruiz is a third-striker with two prior strike convictions for a 1991 robbery and a 1995 carjacking. He faces a maximum sentence of 67 years to life in state prison if convicted. Opening statements are scheduled to begin Monday, July 20, 2009, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
On May 3, 2008, Ruiz is accused of driving more than 60 mph in a 35 mph zone in his Chevrolet Blazer on Camino De Estrella in San Clemente. He was on his way home from a wedding reception. Ruiz’ pregnant girlfriend, 33-year-old Andrea Gerdon, was sitting in the passenger seat. The defendant is accused of having a blood alcohol level of .17 percent and crashing into a palm tree. Gerdon and her unborn baby were killed.
Ruiz was convicted in January 2008 of misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). As a result of that conviction, the defendant was ordered by the court to participate in alcohol education programs, where he was instructed that driving while intoxicated could be deadly to himself and others. Four months prior to murdering Gerdon and her unborn baby, Ruiz signed on his DUI guilty plea form that he understood that he could be prosecuted for murder if he was responsible for the death of another while driving under the influence.
In August 2007, Ruiz was released on parole stemming from a 15-year sentence for a 1995 carjacking conviction. The defendant was on parole at the time of the murders and his DUI arrest in January 2008. His parole terms prohibit the defendant from consuming any alcohol or driving without the permission of his parole officer.
Deputy District Attorney Susan Price of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.