Investigators on Friday recovered the black box and video footage from cameras inside a school bus that crashed into a tree on an Anaheim golf course one day earlier, injuring a dozen people.
School psychologists and counselors were made available at an Orange County middle school the day after the bus crashed while returning from an after-school activity.
The bus was heading back to El Rancho Charter Middle School when it crashed into a eucalyptus tree at an Anaheim golf course around 3:40 p.m., officials said.
Two students remained in the hospital, but were awake and alert Friday morning.
The bus driver, who had to be pulled from the wreckage, was hospitalized but was expected to survive. Family members told NBC4 Jerry Rupple, 24, has a broken clavicle and two black eyes.
Students returning to school in the morning were shaken after hearing the news.
“It’s really hard knowing that something like this could happen any day, anytime," one student said.
One parent recalled talking to her child for the first time following the crash.
"It sends kind of a jolt through a parent’s gut when you hear about not just your own child, any children for that matter, in such a horrific accident," she said.
The school district issued a statement in the morning thanking authorities for their response to those injured in the wreck.
“We wish the best for the injured students and driver and hope for a speedy and complete recovery for all involved,” said Orange Unified School District Superintendent Michael L. Christensen. “We are committed to the safety of students and staff and are working with the CHP in their investigation of this accident.”
Authorities wrapped up their investigation at the crash site overnight Thursday. A lack of skid marks on the road led investigators to believe that the bus driver, identified by students as Gerald Rupple, 24, did not brake before the wreck.
Students said that Rupple may not have been feeling well just before the crash.
The school district said Rupple has worked full-time since 2010 and that the bus was last inspected in October 2013.
“On behalf of the Board of Education, we wish to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to the California Highway Patrol, the Anaheim Police and Fire Departments, and to the community members and neighbors who responded to the bus accident yesterday,” Christensen said.
CHP officers took a statement from Rupple at the hospital Thursday night.