Lawmakers push for party bus chaperones after underage drinking incident on Sunrise Highway
WOODBURY - State lawmakers are pushing for legislation that would force party bus companies to have a chaperone on all trips involving large underage parties.
State Sen. Jeff Klein, of the Bronx, introduced the proposal Thursday just days after 42 teens were allegedly found to be drinking on a party bus headed from Garden City to Montauk. The bus driver, 26-year-old Luis Guevara-Henriquz, was arrested and charged with child endangerment.
State law does not force transportation companies to have a matron on board for underage groups. The proposed legislation would mandate that companies have one chaperone per every 20 underage passengers. Buses would also be equipped with technology that would alert the driver if a window or door is opened.
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Matthew Delaney, owner of the party bus involved in Monday’s incident, supports the law. He says he has voluntarily used chaperones in the past, but didn't think it was needed this time since the teens were returning customers who had used the company’s services without incident.
Delaney says the vehicle was virtually destroyed by the teens, adding up to more than $35,000 in damages. He says Guevara-Henriquz followed company protocol by pulling over when he first sensed something might be out the ordinary, and calling his supervisor.
Under the proposed legislation, the chaperone could either be provided by the bus company or a parent or guardian can serve in the role. Whoever takes on the position could face charges if underage passengers are found to be drinking or using drugs under their watch.