San Joaquin County supervisor candidate Chris Rouppert denies drinking or taking drugs before a September crash that damaged three parked cars and for which he now faces a misdemeanor hit-and-run charge.
Rouppet was not present and did not enter a plea at his Thursday arraignment on one charge of hit-and-run driving resulting in property damage. His next court date is Dec. 6.
Rouppet, 55, is chief of staff for District 1 Supervisor Miguel Villapudua.
Rouppet was driving on Sonoma Avenue west of Delaware Avenue in the Country Club area of Stockton on Sept. 29 when he hit a parked vehicle, said California Highway Patrol Officer Ruben Jones to the Stocktonia News Service.
“The parked car is then pushed back into another parked car and that car hits another parked car,” Jones said.
According to the CHP report, a neighborhood resident, hearing a loud crash, went outside to find Rouppet standing next to his vehicle, repeating a curse word.
The resident, recognizing Rouppet, told him to stay put while he went back inside to fetch a cell phone and call 911. The resident told officers he returned outside to see Rouppet leaving the scene on foot.
CHP and San Joaquin County Sheriff’s officers went to Rouppet’s home and knocked on the door and called to Rouppet for an hour, but Rouppet did not come out, according to the CHP report .
Rouppet contacted authorities the next morning, the report says. He told the CHP he had suffered a concussion and remembered next to nothing.
In a statement to Stocktonia, Rouppet said he is “very remorseful” about the accident. He claims he was driving home after dinner and had not consumed any alcohol or drugs, nor was he on any medications. Because of the delay in contacting Rouppet, officers were unable to test him for drugs and other substances.
Rouppet declined to answer questions on advice of legal counsel, but his statement reads, in part: “unfortunately I had an accident, I went to the ER, and was diagnosed with a severe (traumatic brain injury).” He also stated he is taking care of the property damage.
When asked about the charges, Lee Neves, a spokesperson for the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office, said, “That’s what all the facts substantiate.”
As a misdemeanor, hit and run carries a possible sentence of up to six months in the county jail and a fine up to $1,000. Penalties can also include three years probation, restitution for the damage to property as well as two points on a California driving record.
Villapudua’s second term ends in January 2025, and he can not run again. Rouppet seeks to replace him in a district encompassing much of Stockton south of the Calaveras River.
A graduate of Franklin High School, Rouppet worked for Coca-Cola for nearly two decades and was a Teamsters 439 member and shop steward, according to his campaign website.
Michael Fitzgerald contributed to this story.