A Cherry Creek School District bus driver who had driven special needs students has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence while on duty.
The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office identified the bus driver as 36-year-old Rodolfo Luna. The school district called him a "new" bus driver.
Deputies were called after the school district received an email from a concerned citizen who said they witnessed Luna discarding empty vodka bottles from his school bus in school parking lot, after driving special needs students from Liberty Middle School on a field trip.
7NEWS obtained a copy of the email which read:
"I noticed a man littering next to a tree on the West side of the Tae Kwon Do building in our complex. I then saw that same man get into a yellow school bus with Cherry Creeks Schools on the side. The bus number on the side is 1425, I did not get the license plate. Just to be sure I walked over to the tree and noticed 4 airplane type vodka bottles. I tried to call your phone number but got the answering machine, so I decided to email you with the information. It is certainly possible that this person visited the liquor store next to the Tae Kwon Do building before I saw him. Hopefully you can stop this person from picking up any kids today."
Luna was contacted by radio and told to remain at Liberty at Parker & Arapahoe until security personnel could speak with him. However, when security arrived, they found that Luna had left the area in his bus. He was eventually located in the area of South Buckley Road and East Peakview Avenue.
"In accordance with Cherry Creek School District transportation policy, Luna was immediately taken to an area emergency room for a drug/alcohol test," a statement from sheriff's office said.
After the test, Luna and security personnel returned to the bus yard, the sheriff’s office was contacted. Luna consented to voluntary roadside maneuvers, which he did not perform satisfactorily, the school district statement said.
"While the sheriff’s office investigation was being conducted, Luna admitted to consuming vodka and cold medicine prior to driving the school bus (Wednesday). Based on Luna’s statements and observations, Luna was taken into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence, reckless endangerment and child abuse," the statement continued.
Luna entered a not guilty plea in court Thursday and was released from Arapahoe County Jail on $1,000 bond.
"We are very disturbed the incident," said Cherry Creek School District spokeswoman Tustin Amole. "The driver has been removed from driving. We'll being taking the next step very soon and we have notified all the parents,"