Former School Bus Driver Sentenced to 210 Days in Jail for 2014 Anaheim Hills Crash That Injured 11 Students
A former school bus driver was sentenced Friday to 210 days in jail for failing to disclose a medical condition that caused him to pass out on the job in Anaheim Hills in 2014, sending the bus he was driving crashing down a hill and inuring everyone on board.
Gerald Rupple, 28, was also ordered to serve five years of formal probation, court officials in Santa Ana said.
The felonies he pleaded guilty to last June had carried a maximum penalty of 26 years and four months in prison.
Rupple failed to disclose a medical condition that caused him to have seizures and black out, he admitted. He was convicted of 11 felony counts of child abuse and endangerment and one felony count of perjury, and also admitted to four sentencing enhancements for inflicting great bodily injury.
The driver was transporting 11 students from El Rancho Charter Middle School in Anaheim Hills when the crash occurred April 24, 2014.
The bus was going about 50 mph when he passed out and it veered off Nohl Ranch Canyon Road, then careened down an embankment where it hit several trees. The brakes had not been applied, investigators found.
All 11 students were hurt, four of them with major injuries including fractured bones, intracranial hemorrhaging and a shattered spine. One had to have their toe amputated, officials said.
Rupple was also hospitalized with critical injuries. The Orange County Register reported he was recovering from a double lung transplant in Phoenix when he pleaded guilty last June and appeared via video conference.
The driver had worked for the Orange Unified School District since 2010. District officials reached a $10 million settlement with the families of five children injured in 2017.
Rupple was arrested in Arizona in January 2015 after the incident was investigated and prosecutors decided to charge him in the case. He is from Ajo, Arizona.