|For Immediate Release
Case # 08ZF0048
October 30, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
THIRD-STRIKER SENTENCED TO 55 YEARS TO LIFE FOR MURDERING PREGNANT GIRLFRIEND AND UNBORN BABY IN HIGH SPEED CRASH WHILE
UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL
SANTA ANA – A third-striker was sentenced today to 55 years to life in state prison for 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 found guilty by a jury July 23, 2009, of two felony counts of murder. Ruiz is a third-striker with two prior strike convictions for a 1991 robbery and a 1995 carjacking.
On May 3, 2008, Ruiz was 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 had a blood alcohol level of .17 percent and crashed 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.
During the sentencing today, Andrea Gerdon’s sister and niece gave victim impact statements to the court saying they missed their best friend. They told the court that they were devastated by the loss, and that they didn’t get the chance to meet or know the baby.
Deputy District Attorney Susan Price of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.