Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
THIRD-STRIKER UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL CHARGED WITH MURDERING PREGNANT GIRLFRIEND AND UNBORN BABY IN HIGH SPEED CRASH
NEWPORT BEACH – A third striker has been charged with murdering his pregnant girlfriend and her unborn 5-month-old baby by crashing into a tree at 70 mph while under the influence of alcohol. Danny Calvin Ruiz, 35, Laguna Hills, is charged with two felony counts of murder and is a third striker with two prior strike convictions for a 1991 robbery and a 1995 carjacking. He faces a maximum sentence of 100 years to life in prison if convicted. The defendant is under a medical and parole hold, making him ineligible to post his $1 million bail. Ruiz is expected to be arraigned today, Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 1:30 p.m. at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach. A Department is to be assigned.
On May 3, 2008, Ruiz is accused of driving more than 70 mph in a 35 mile per hour zone in his Chevrolet Blazer on Camino De Estrella in San Clemente 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 .18 percent and crashing into a palm tree. Gerdon and her unborn baby were killed. The defendant suffered injuries and has been hospitalized since the time that he caused the crash.
Ruiz was convicted in an earlier case in January 2008 of driving under the influence of alcohol. The defendant is accused of knowing that driving while intoxicated could be deadly to himself and others and signing on his guilty plea form four months ago that he understood that he could be prosecuted for murder if he was responsible for the death of another while driving under the influence.
Ruiz was released on parole in August 2007 stemming from a 15-year sentence for his 1995 carjacking conviction. The defendant is accused of being on parole at the time of the murders and of his arrest in January for driving under the influence. His parole terms prohibit the defendant from consuming any alcohol or driving without the permission of his parole officer.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.