The West Las Vegas bus driver who was cited earlier this month for speeding and reckless driving while taking students home says he was distracted and shouldn’t have returned to work so soon after his house burned down.
“I would like to let the West Las Vegas District, community and parents know I never intended to put any one of my students I transport in any danger,” said John Lujan. “The children’s safety comes first at all times.”
Lujan said he thought he was fit to return to work “after a traumatic personal situation had occurred within days of this.”
“I apologize for my actions,” he said.
Lujan, 50, was cited on Nov. 7 after a San Miguel County sheriff’s deputy caught him driving 70 miles per hour when the speed limit was 55 mph. Lujan’s house was destroyed by fire just six days prior to that incident. Lujan said the fire destroyed most of his family’s possessions.
Lujan said he’s actually grateful that the sheriff’s deputy stopped him because it prevented what could have been another tragedy.
“I was 100 percent wrong,” he said. “I had no business driving that bus when all of these things were going through my mind. I can’t afford to take off from my job. It’s hard to make ends meet nowadays.”
Lujan said he immediately took full responsibility for his actions, agreeing to pay the speeding fine immediately.
Besides the fire, Lujan has been embroiled in a court battle over a used Lexus that he purchased. He said he even obtained an affidavit from a state police officer who did a check on the vehicle and determined that it hadn’t been stolen.
He said he poured thousands into fixing up the vehicle, which he planned to give to his wife.
He said the Lexus later turned out to have been stolen, and he has been forced to file for bankruptcy over the matter.
“Now I’m being sued for $33,000, and all I did was buy a vehicle,” Lujan said.
All of that, he added, has been weighing on his mind.
Lujan said Loretta Salazar, the district’s transportation director, and Superintendent Gene Parson have been understanding. He said he has even been asked if he’s ready to return to work. Lujan told the Optic on Thursday that he hasn’t been ready to return to work.
Lujan has also previously been critical of the crews who battled the blaze that destroyed his home. He said he regrets that and wants to thank the Gallinas and Sheridan fire departments “for risking their lives.
“I know I gave (them) hell that night, but two days later when my blood level went down I realized that (they) are very brave and courageous to put (their) lives on the line,” Lujan said.
“I’d like to apologize for my action that night, and I now know that you guys did everything in your power that you could possibly do with what resources you had.”