Crime

Police say mom on methamphetamine, amphetamine, Zolpidem when she wrecked, killing 3-year-old

A woman allegedly under the influence of multiple drugs is accused of causing the Tacoma wreck that killed her 3-year-old son.

Heather Leah Ruopp, 36, was charged Monday with vehicular homicide. Court records did not list an attorney for her.

The King County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the toddler who died as Brody Debenning. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after the wreck, where he died.

Charging papers give this account:

The crash happened about 2:30 p.m. Aug. 18 in the 3000 block of Yakima Avenue, when Ruopp’s sedan crossed the center line and hit an oncoming city of Tacoma work truck.

Witnesses said Ruopp was driving erratically and swerving before the wreck. Blood tests showed she had methamphetamine, amphetamine and Zolpidem (commonly used as a sleep aid) in her system.

She was mumbling and incoherent, and clearly in physical pain when an officer tried to speak to her. Meanwhile, medics tended to her son, who was unconscious.

Police determined the truck driver had tried to stop, but wasn’t able to avoid the crash. Ruopp was going about 50 mph in a 30 mph zone at the time.

Ruopp and the toddler were taken to Harborview with serious injuries. Ruopp had a fractured pelvis, and her son was put on life support after doctors determined his injuries weren’t survivable.

Police learned about a month later that the boy had died.

A website dedicated to raising funds for Brody’s cremation said he died after being taken off life support, and that he became an organ donor.

Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268, @amkrell

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