Antonio McLandau wasn’t even on the job for a full two months when his public bus was transformed into an oversize ambulance on Oct. 1.
With no sirens or flashing red lights, the bus driver calmly drove about 20 to 30 people suffering from gunshot wounds from the Route 91 Harvest festival site to Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center in the east valley.
“It wasn’t a morbid scene,” McLandau said while recalling the events at the Regional Transportation Commission’s Mobility Training Center.
“They knew they were injured and we were headed to the hospital to get help,” McLandau said. “Their spirits were better than I thought.”
McLandau was headed south on Koval Lane when he spotted crowds of people walking in the middle of the street near Tropicana Avenue. He knew a country music festival was nearby, but he had no idea that a gunman had taken aim at the concert.
“This being Las Vegas, I just assumed they were just intoxicated, or there was a fight or altercation going on,” said McLandau, a longtime limousine chauffeur who started working as an RTC bus driver on Aug. 7.
The driver stopped near Metropolitan Police Department officers, who asked him to wait on Reno Avenue in case his assistance was needed. McLandau parked, notified dispatch and waited.
Several minutes later, men and women suffering from gunshot wounds boarded with help from friends and family, their clothes stained with blood.
“I’m seeing the wounds, I’m seeing the bullet holes in a young lady’s thigh and in the arms, and I was like ‘wow,’” McLandau said.
No one cried during the drive to Desert Springs Hospital, but McLandau could overhear passengers calling their families.
Knowing his bus wouldn’t make it to the emergency room drop-off area, McLandau pulled up to the main entrance of the hospital, where he was met by staffers who helped unload the wounded passengers.
Shortly afterward, McLandau called dispatch. With bloodstains on board, he drove the bus back to the dispatch yard.
Hospital workers and passengers haven’t reached out since Oct. 1.
“They don’t need to,” McLandau said. “I’m not a hero. You help people. I realize not everybody is capable or able to do that, but unfortunately I was put in a position to help them.”