School bus driver found with meth suspended

Posted at: 01/24/2013 5:53 PM
Updated at: 01/24/2013 6:22 PM
By: Eddie Garcia, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A school bus driver is under police investigation for having meth on him after the bus he was driving Wednesday morning lost its back wheels and crashed on Lead near the Univeristy of New Mexico campus.

No children were on the bus.

The school bus was on Route 16 picking up and dropping off kids at Albuquerque High, Zia Elementary and Reginald Chavez Elementary.

The driver, Ruben Gonzales, had already dropped off all the kids when the drive shaft came off - taking both back wheels with it.

Some parents at Chavez hadn't even heard about it.

"Oh my goodness! That is terrible!" said parent Cruz Vargas.

"You're supposed to do inspections and stuff like that I don't know how that would happen," said parent Salvador Duenas.

The bus passed four inspections in the last two years, but why the wheels broke away off is still being investigated.

Gonzales is being investigated too. UNM police say he had three plastic sandwhich bags containing meth crystals.

"What's more shocking is the bus driver had the meth on him and that's certainly not ok since he picks up little kids," said Duenas.

"I really, really think that they need to do start checking backgrounds and do random drug testing - I mean they take care of our kids! What if they would have killed some of our kids?" asked Vargas.

Beal, the company that owns the bus, says Gonzales passed a background check and a drug test when he was hired back in September.

The state requires all contractors and school districts to do quarterly random drug tests.  Gonzales wasn't selected for the latest test in December.

Parents say, considering what happened, random drug tests should affect every one.

"It should be everyone. Not just a handful, I mean it should be every single one that works with our elderly, with our children - the city," said Vargas.

UNM police say the crystals they took from Gonzales tested positive for meth on a field kit.

They'll have to send the evidence off to a lab for analysis before they can charge him.