School bus driver charged in Anaheim Hills crash

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- A former Orange Unified School District bus driver has been charged with causing severe injuries to students by passing out behind the wheel and crashing into several trees in Anaheim Hills last April.

Gerald Rupple is charged with one felony count each of child abuse and endangerment, perjury by declaration and causing great bodily injury.

According to investigators, the 25-year-old was unconscious when he crashed a bus transporting 11 El Rancho Charter Middle School students.

Investigators said the bus was travelling at about 50 mph when it veered off the road and crashed into several trees, injuring all of the children on board. Four of the students sustained major injuries including fractured bones, internal bleeding, a shattered spine and amputated toe.

The mangled Orange Unified School District bus in Anaheim Hills. April 24, 2014.

Prosecutors said prior to the crash, Rupple purposely hid from district officials a medical condition that causes dizziness, seizures and blackouts.

Rupple is accused of not disclosing the malady during a required commercial driver fitness exam.

He was arrested in Arizona on Thursday and was being extradited back to Orange County.

If convicted Rupple faces a maximum sentence of 19 years in state prison. He is being held on $100,000 bail.

According to a statement released Friday by OUSD, Rupple did not return to work following the crash and subsequently resigned his position.
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