Charges Possible for Dave Matthews Band

By | August 26, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Authorities were considering criminal charges Wednesday against the Dave Matthews Band and one of its tour bus drivers for allegedly dumping human waste from a bus into the Chicago River, dousing a tour boat filled with passengers.

The announcement came a day after the state sued the band and driver Stefan Wohl, accusing them of violating state water pollution and public nuisance laws. The lawsuit seeks $70,000 in civil penalties.

Chicago police said surveillance footage from nearby buildings shows a bus crossing the grated bridge Aug. 8 as the tour boat passed underneath.

“Certainly, this is the bus that discharged this fluid,” Cmdr. Michael Chasen said. He said the driver told police he crossed the bridge around the time of the incident but didn’t admit dumping the waste.

More than 100 people on an architecture tour were showered with foul-smelling waste. The attorney general’s office said no one was seriously injured.

The band was waiting to see the video surveillance footage and other evidence before making a judgment, Dave Matthews Band spokesman John Vlautin said Wednesday.

Police were working with the attorney general’s office to determine if any charges should be filed.

Howard Learner, the executive director of the Chicago-based Environmental Law and Policy Center, said criminal charges could include violations of public nuisance laws and ordinances to protect public and health safety.

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