Case # 15NF0005
Date: January 9, 2015
SCHOOL BUS DRIVER CHARGED FOR INJURING STUDENTS AFTER PASSING OUT BEHIND THE WHEEL AND CRASHING INTO TREES
*The defendant is accused of hiding a medical condition and lying about it
SANTA ANA – A former school bus driver has been charged for causing severe injuries to students by passing out behind the wheel and crashing into several trees. Gerald Douglas Rupple, 25, Ajo, Ariz., is charged with one felony count each of child abuse and endangerment, perjury by declaration, and a sentencing enhancement for causing great bodily injury. If convicted, Rupple faces a maximum sentence of 19 years in state prison. He is being held on $100,000 bail and is being extradited from Arizona, where he was recently arrested. He is scheduled to be arraigned at a later date.
At approximately3:40 p.m. on April 24, 2014, Rupple is accused of driving a school bus for the Orange Unified School District (OUSD) and transporting a group of 11 El Rancho Charter Middle School students in Anaheim Hills. The defendant is accused of passing 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, the defendant is accused of having a medical condition that causes dizziness, seizures, and blackouts. He is accused of not disclosing his medical history to the OUSD knowing that it would negatively affect his employment. Rupple is accused of not disclosing his medical condition to the physician conducting his required commercial driver fitness examination and falsely declaring under penalty of perjury that his medical history was accurate.
Rupple was arrested in Arizona yesterday, Jan. 8, 2015, and is being transported back to Orange County by the California Highway Patrol, who investigated this case.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Robert Mestman of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.