LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The company contracted with RTC to operate busses in southern Nevada released a statement Friday, reiterating its position that a driver could not open the vehicle’s doors for several minutes as a man stabbed another man to death.
Aaron Cole, 59, is charged with murder in the death of Dominique Lucas, 30. Both men were riding an RTC bus on Sunday, Feb. 26, when they began to argue. Cole then stabbed Lucas 33 times over a 4-minute period, prosecutors said.
Video shows the bus’s front door opening during the attack and then closing as Cole continues to stab Lucas. Lucas then stands up and pleads for the bus driver for help.
For about 2 minutes, Lucas stumbles around the front area of the bus and it continues down Paradise Road. During this time, the bus driver activated a panic button and talked to a dispatcher.
“Man, come on, you want to get off the bus?” the driver is heard saying to Lucas in the video.
Two minutes after the initial attack, the video shows Cole getting up and stabbing Lucas several more times. The bus, which was traveling on an alternate route due to that day’s marathon, was traveling in the left lane. It eventually stopped near the intersection of Paradise and Desert Inn roads.
A spokesperson for Keolis, the company contracted to run the bus service, released this statement Friday:
On Feb. 26, a Marathon had closed portions of Las Vegas Boulevard (The Strip); the bus was on a detour route along adjacent Paradise Road. Normally, the bus would run along the right lane but in this instance, the bus was running in the left lane in preparation of turning left to get back to Las Vegas Boulevard and the original route. When the incident occurred, the driver couldn’t let passengers off because of the heavy stream of traffic on the right. For passenger safety, the driver needed to negotiate two lanes of traffic to get to the far right-hand lane and pull into the curb to safely open the doors. While maneuvering the bus to a safe position, the driver also needed to keep the doors closed because the bus cannot move when doors are opened. Simultaneously, the driver hit the emergency button which notified dispatch communications, giving the situation priority status, and then the driver immediately called 911. In this instance, the driver was ensuring the safety of all passengers on board.Bill Marion, spokesperson
According to grand jury transcripts, the driver told the panel he kept the doors closed for the safety of the victim and the other passengers.
The incident begins on video at 4:50 p.m. The bus stops and its doors open at 4:54 p.m. The driver exits the bus shortly before 4:55 p.m. No one is seen helping Lucas, who crawled out of the bus and onto the sidewalk. A passerby is seen applying a towel to Lucas’ chest at 4:57 p.m. Metro police officers arrived at 4:58 p.m.