Appeal Court Upholds Second-Degree Murder Conviction For DUI Crash Principal

My News LA and The Valley Post News reported recently that the 2020 conviction of a Lancaster school principal for driving under the influence and second-degree murder in 2018 was upheld in a recent appeal attempt heard by the California 2nd District Court of Appeal. 

The defense tried to argue that Mary Noel Kruppe didn’t know that what she was doing at the time would be dangerous to human life. The three-justice panel did not agree with the defense’s arguments and upheld the charges.

Kruppe has been behind bars since her arrest in 2018 and was sentenced in February 2020 to 15 years to life in prison over her actions. She veered left into oncoming traffic while driving south on 50th Street East and collided with another vehicle head-on. The driver of the other vehicle was killed instantly.

“Defendant was not someone who had a drink or two and marginally exceeded the legal limit; the undisputed expert testimony was that defendant consumed in excess of four drinks and was well over the legal limit,” the appellate court panel wrote in its 15-page ruling. The ruling also stated that Kruppe had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.19 nearly two hours after the crash.

“Defendant’s coordination of the elementary school’s participation in Red Ribbon Week meant she had general awareness of the risks presented by drugs and alcohol; educating the students about these risks was the entire purpose of the program,” the justices also stated. 

Furthermore, she lied after the crash about drinking and “tried to defeat the preliminary alcohol screening test by blowing inadequate breaths — demonstrating that she well knew that she should not, in fact, have been driving drunk.”

Related Frequently Asked Questions