Bus driver convicted after passing out behind the wheel


A former school bus driver has been convicted of child abuse and endangerment for causing severe injuries to students by passing out behind the wheel and crashing into several trees in Anaheim Hills in 2014.

Gerald Douglas Rupple, 28, of Arizona, has pleaded guilty to felony counts of child abuse and endangerment and perjury by declaration.

On April 24, 2014, Rupple drove a school bus for the Orange Unified School District (OUSD) and transported a group of 11 El Rancho Charter Middle School students in Anaheim Hills.

The defendant passed out behind the wheel while driving approximately 50 miles per hour, causing the school bus to veer off the road and crash into several trees.

All of the students received injuries to varying degrees. Four of the students sustained major injuries including fractured bones, intra-cranial hemorrhaging, a shattered spine and amputation of a toe.

At the time of the crash, Rupple had a medical condition that caused dizziness, seizures and blackouts. He did not disclose his medical history to OUSD knowing that it would negatively affect his employment.

Rupple did not disclose his medical condition to the physician conducting his required commercial driver fitness examination and falsely declared under penalty of perjury that his medical history was accurate.

Rupple was arrested in Arizona on Jan. 8, 2015, and was transported back to Orange County by the California Highway Patrol, who investigated the case.

His sentencing date is Oct. 19.


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