Dr. Richard Michael Rucker, a veteran internist out of Los Alamitos, had his license to practice medicine in California placed on four years probation due to a conviction for a drunken driving crash.
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Affiliated with Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Rucker received his medical degree from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine.
His license was put on probation effective 5 p.m. last Friday, and he is now prohibited from supervising physician assistants, according to the Medical Board of California.
Around 7 p.m. on New Year’s Eve of 2012, Long Beach police officers rolled up on Rucker, who was standing near a car with a damaged front end, which was directly across from another with rear-end damage. Rucker told a cop he came around a corner but was unsure what happened after that, according to the medical board report.
A responding officer noticed Rucker had slurred speech, bloodshot and watery eyes, an odor of alcohol on his breath and poor coordination—tell-tale signs of driving under the influence. He went on to fail a field sobriety test, and a blood analysis later determined his blood alcohol content was 0.25 percent.
Rucker pleaded guilty in May 2013 to willfully and unlawfully having driven under the influence and was sentenced to 36 months probation, 10 days of community labor and a requirement to complete a nine-month alcohol and drug education program, a Mothers Against Drunk Driving victim impact program and abstain from drinking alcohol and businesses where that is the chief item for sale. He also had to pay a fine and restitution to the crash victim.
The conviction was the first cause for discipline under state rules, notes the medical board, which also slapped Rucker for having put himself and others in danger, failing to inform the board of the conviction in writing within a required 30 days, demonstrating an unfitness for practicing medicine and for further violating the Medical Practices Act.
Rucker, who signed off on all the medical board allegations and disciplinary steps, must during the probationary period abstain from drugs and alcohol, undergo drug and booze testings, undergo psychotherapy, attend support group meetings, have his ability to practice medicine evaluated and, if necessary, corrected, attend group meetings, inform his employer and supervisor of the state action against him and obey all laws.
Failure to do any of that could lead to proceedings to terminate Rucker’s license, according to the medical board.