Posted at: 01/23/2013 6:29 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4
University of New Mexico Police are investigating an Albuquerque Public Schools bus driver found with meth shortly after the wheels literally came off his bus while he was driving it Wednesday morning.
When people in the neighborhood heard the loud crash and saw the bus lodged across the street near the intersection of Lead and Solano, many wondered how this could even happen.
UNM police said the driver, identified as Ruben Gonzales, was found with a substance that tested positive as meth when he was taken to UNMH after the crash.
It is not known at this time if the substance was a factor in the crash.
First thing in the morning, it was a sight to see.
"Holy smokes have mercy, you don't see that everyday do you?" John Depuy, who lives nearby, said.
The bus was traveling westbound down Lead when neighbors said the axle popped off.
There are visible skid marks showing the path it traveled, up onto the curb and then crashing right into a cinderblock wall.
"It was just this big loud bang," Bryan Durden, who lives in the area, said. "How does the back axle pop off of a school bus?"
Officers said the drive shaft came off first, then the wheels popped off with it.
This particular bus is contracted with Beal School Bus Company. The owner declined to comment.
APS officials told KOB Eyewitness News 4 all 400 school buses in the district follow state regulated safety inspections and undergo regular monthly maintenance.
But what role operator error may have played in this case is yet to be determined.
"Better check his driver's license," Depuy said.
It is not clear if Gonzales was high on meth, UNM police assure. He was just caught with the substance.
As for the bus, KOB went to the state for the latest inspection records, and found the bus has passed four inspections in the last two years.