August 24, 2004Lawsuit Claims Driver Dumped 'Foul-Smelling' Waste
CHICAGO -- The Dave Matthews Band is being sued for dumping waste from its tour bus into the Chicago River and onto a sightseeing boat.
The Illinois Attorney General's office on Tuesday filed a civil lawsuit against the band and their tour bus driver, claiming the driver emptied the bus' waste tank down a bridge over the Chicago River and onto an architectural sightseeing boat passing by.
A number of passengers reported seeing a long, black tour bus on the bridge when the waste drenched them, according to news reports. That waste splashed onto the approximately 109 tour boat passengers, including disabled people, senior citizens, a pregnant woman, a small child and an infant, the suit stated. The suit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court two weeks after an incident where human waste rained down onto numerous passengers on a tour boat from the Chicago Architecture Foundation as it passed under the Kinzie Street bridge.
The suit claimed that either the band or its bus driver, Stefan A. Wohl, dumped between 80 and 100 gallons of the "foul-smelling, offensive" waste from the bus down through an open grating in the bridge on Aug 8.
The suit charges both the band and Wohl with violating state water pollution laws, as well as common law public nuisance laws.
The suit came after an attorney general's office investigation that began immediately after the incident, office spokeswoman Melissa Merz said.
A representative for the five-man band, led by South African-born singer/guitarist Dave Matthews, could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon. Just after the incident, a publicist for the band issued a statement saying the group's management had determined that all of the buses on the tour had been parked at the time of this incident, according to news reports.
The suit seeks a $10,000 fine for each violation, an injunction barring the defendants from "further acts constituting a public nuisance" and court costs.
The case was assigned to Presiding Chancery Judge Dorothy Kinnaird for a case management hearing in January.