A former Orange County bus driver who crashed a bus and injured several students when he passed out behind the wheel, could face 19 years in prison, prosecutors announced Friday.
Gerald Douglas Rupple, 25, of Ajo, Ariz., was driving a school bus for the Orange Unified School District on April 24, 2014, at a speed of about 50 mph when he blacked out, prosecutors said.
The Orange County district attorney's office said Rupple had failed to disclose that he had a medical condition that causes dizziness, seizures and blackouts.
All of the 11 students onboard from El Rancho Charter Middle School in Anaheim Hills were injured when the bus slammed into several trees.
Students suffered broken bones, and one had a shattered spine, authorities said. One had to have a toe amputated.
Rupple is accused of failing to disclose his medical problems when he was hired. According to the district attorney’s office, Rupple did not tell the physician conducting his required driver fitness examination about his medical condition.
Rupple is charged with one felony count each of child abuse and endangerment, perjury by declaration and a sentencing enhancement for causing great bodily injury. He was arrested in Arizona on Thursday and is being brought back to Orange County by the California Highway Patrol, which investigated the case.
Rupple is being held on $100,000 bail, according to prosecutors.
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