LAS VEGAS -- A bus fire six months ago changed the lives of many parents and students at a Las Vegas high school.
Jason Sylvester tried to save his daughter and other students after their tour bus went up in flames in the parking lot of their school. The rear tire exploded and Sylvester wound up fighting for his life in the hospital.
It was about 10 p.m. in late March when the bus, packed with students and school staff, rolled into a pitch black West Career and Technical Academy parking lot.
Sylvester said the problem was unnoticed by the bus driver as the flames grew. Parents rushed to get the 47 students out of danger and Jason grabbed a fire extinguisher to give the students more time to escape.
"You could see smoke coming out of the back of the bus," Sylvester said. "The bus went by me, and I honked my horn a couple of times, and I ran to the back of the bus. There was this little flame coming out from the rear tire."
The Coach USA Bus was left in ruins when something went wrong. The rear tire exploded sending shrapnel flying. The flying debris damaged blood vessels, nerves and ligaments in Jason's leg. Sylvester went through four painful surgeries and doctors said Jason will never be the same.
"I could see the kids standing on the bus getting their luggage and stuff, and I went to the back of the bus, and the last thing I remember there was an explosion.
"They had told my wife when I went into surgery, 'First, we are going to try and save his life, and then we'll try and save his leg,'" Sylvester added. "It's been a lot of work for me, a lot of work for my wife and my family. I haven't been able to walk without assistance."
Sylvester filed a lawsuit against the bus company. Paperwork refuting the charges claims Jason acted rash and inappropriately when saving the students lives.
"Is that the type of company we want taking our kids on field trips, that if a bus is on fire like that, that we shouldn't do anything? Just let it burn?" he said.
The lawyers representing Coach America declined to comment for this story.
Jason had his fourth surgery Tuesday, and he's also in danger of losing his job because his leave of absence as a maintenance worker at the Rio Hotel is running out.
Both parties are due back in court for mediation in November.