Rodolfo Luna, bus driver: Did he down vodka, cold meds before piloting special-needs kids?
Back in September, we told you about the arrest of school-bus driver Burton Carpenter on suspicion of DUI. We also shared a mug shot of Carpenter that appeared to show him leaning against a wall to prop himself up.
Less than two months later, there's been another bust of a school-bus driver, Rodolfo Luna, on the same charge and more -- apparently because a concerned citizen saw him toss out empty vodka bottles after dropping off some special-needs students. Photos, video and details below.
At about 1:25 p.m. on Wednesday, according to a special report provided by the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office, deputies were called to the Cherry Creek School District bus yard on East Smoky Hill Road in connection with a bus driver who may have been under the influence of alcohol.
However, several hours had already passed since school district reps got their first reports about Luna, age 36. The initial tip had come in at 9:28 a.m. from what's described as a concerned citizen. The claim, which was e-mailed to the district: Luna had emerged from a school bus at a Parker and Arapahoe Village Inn with empty vodka bottles.
Turns out the bus had been occupied by special-needs students from Liberty Middle School, who were visiting the Village Inn on a field trip.
Liberty Middle School, in a 9News image.
Shortly thereafter, school security officials were able to raise Luna on the radio. By that time, he is said to have returned to the school, and the aforementioned security types told him to stay there so they could have a chat.
Instead, Luna reportedly split -- in the bus.
As you might imagine, a school bus isn't the most inconspicuous vehicle, and Cherry Creek personnel spotted it around noon near South Buckley Road and East Peakview Avenue. Luna was then taken to a local emergency room for a drug and alcohol test, after which the ACSO was contacted.
This was more than two-and-a-half hours after Luna was spotted with the vodka -- but sheriff's office reps say he still performed roadside sobriety tests unsatisfactorily. They maintain that he admitted to drinking the vodka, as well as consuming cold medication, while driving the bus.
That was more than enough to get Luna booked on suspicion of driving under the influence, reckless endangerment and child abuse. He wound up in the Arapahoe County Detention Facility on a $1,000 bond. Meanwhile, Cherry Creek School District spokeswoman Tustin Amole shared the following statement with 9News about Luna, who has no previous DUIs on his record: "We are very troubled by this incident. The driver has been removed from driving, and we will be taking next steps very soon."
Here's a larger look at Luna's mug shot, followed by the 9News report.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Burton Carpenter's DUI arrest: Does school-bus driver's mug shot show how drunk he was?"
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Westword's biggest stories.