May 08, 2008
Vol. 3, Issue 19, May 8-14
By Jonathan VolzkeSan Clemente Times
A pregnant woman (and mother) was killed Saturday when a Chevy Blazer slammed into a palm tree, and authorities arrested the driver on suspicion of drunk driving, just four months after he pleaded guilty to another DUI.
Andrea Gerdon, 33. Mom and mother to be.
Authorities said that the woman who died, Andrea Gerdon, 33, of Anaheim, was pregnant.
Danny Calvin Ruiz, 35, was being held on $1 million bail after the wreck, on Camino de Estrella at the Dana Point-San Clemente border. Orange County Superior Court records show Ruiz has a long history of serious run-ins with the law: In 1991, he pleaded guilty to robbery and car theft and was sentenced to two years in state prison. In 1995, he was convicted of carjacking and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was also found to be a habitual criminal.
In November 2007, Ruiz was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor driving under the influence and of driving with a blood-alcohol limit above the state’s legal limit of .08. In that case, he pleaded guilty in January and was sentenced to five days in jail, ordered to pay a $390 fine, ordered to participate in a three-month “first offender alcohol program,” a Mothers Against Drunk Driving victims’ impact panel and was placed on three years probation.
But he was arrested again on Saturday, after a truck jumped the curb and hit a tree while heading west on Camino de Estrella, just east of the San Diego Freeway. Ruiz and Gerdon were both pinned in the vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Sheriff’s spokesperson Jim Amormino said Tuesday that Gerdon was less than 20 weeks pregnant.
Ruiz suffered moderate to serious injuries and was taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange. He was placed under arrest for suspicion of drunken driving, authorities said.
Transportation officials on Monday worked to replace the signal controller on Estrella near the freeway. Stoplights blinked red, while stop signs had been placed in the street. A small memorial of candles had been placed at the base of the palm tree the Blazer struck before flipping.
Because Ruiz is in the hospital, he will not be arraigned, or asked to enter a plea, until he recovers. A deputy is standing guard. Gerdon’s pregnancy could lead to an additional manslaughter charge, Amormino said.
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