LUBBOCK, Texas — After 31 years behind bars, Johnny Rey is out on parole and trying to start fresh with a new trucking job.

When we spoke to Rey on Oct. 4, he was signed up for the commercial driver’s license (CDL) course at South Plains College. 

“I can just get out there, drive, and at the same time, it’s a good occupation, and it makes decent money,” Rey said on Oct. 4. “I don’t have to depend on anybody, I can depend on myself.” 

Rey finished the course and officially earned his CDL in mid-October. Right after, he began looking for trucking jobs all across Texas. One of those was at Bedrock Crushing right here in the Hub City.

“I took my application with me, I took my college certificates, and I gave him my grades,” Rey said. “At the time, I didn’t know who he was. I just told him, if you’re hiring, I’m looking for a job.” 

Richard Drachenberg, the managing partner at Bedrock Crushing, said the company didn’t have an opening at the time, but that changed a few weeks later.

“I called Johnny, and I said ‘Johnny, do you have a job yet?’” And he said, ‘No sir.’ And I said, ‘Well, would you go to corporate fill out all the pipework, and do what you need to do?’ And he said, ‘Sure,’” Drachenberg said.

Rey was just 17 years old when he was accused and later convicted of murder. Drachenberg didn’t know any of this when he hired him as a belly dump truck driver.

“My feelings and my impression are based on my relationship with him, not on his past,” Drachenberg said. “He is super. To be honest with you, it’s hard for me to believe his story. He’s a great guy. He’s probably the most courteous, and most prompt. He never misses a beat.”

“He hired me due to my resume, and I appreciate that from the bottom of my heart,” Rey said.

Rey said just because you hit rock bottom, it doesn’t mean you can’t get back up.

“You gotta learn from mistakes and move on,” Rey said. “If you don’t do that, then it was never a mistake. So how can we prosper? That’s my thing, trying to prosper.” 

Rey concluded by saying, “I intend to continue to prosper and move forward in life.”