Authorities in Chicago are considering criminal charges against the Dave Matthews Band after reviewing surveillance footage of an August 8 incident in which the group’s tour bus allegedly dumped human waste into the Chicago River.
Police Commander Michael Chasen said he’s certain that the band’s bus is the culprit, thanks to the footage, which was shot from nearby buildings and shows a bus crossing the bridge as a tour boat passes below (see “Dave Matthews Band Sued For Stinking Up Chicago River” ). Criminal charges could include violations of public nuisance laws and ordinances to protect public health and safety, according to The Associated Press.
Chasen said Dave Matthews Band bus driver Stefan Wohl told police that he crossed the Kinzie Street bridge near the time the incident took place, but that he did not say whether he was responsible for dumping the 800 pounds of human waste through the bridge’s metal grates. A tour boat with unfortunate timing and a group of 120 passengers aboard was doused with the refuse as it passed underneath.
Around two-thirds of the passengers sitting on the upper deck of Chicago’s Little Lady were hit with the falling waste, the Chicago Tribune reported. Five passengers went to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for testing and all received refunds on their $25 tickets.
The state of Illinois filed suit against the Dave Matthews Band and Wohl on Tuesday, alleging that they violated state water pollution and public nuisance laws. The suit seeks $70,000 in civil penalties.
Jerry Fitzpatrick, the driver initially accused of dumping the waste, told the Tribune that “the band is very environmentally conscious. We wouldn’t want to have anything to do with this sort of thing.”
The Dave Matthews Band is on tour through October 8, when the group’s bus will stop at the University of Florida in Gainesville for the final show of the Vote for Change Tour (see “Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, Springsteen, Others Join Vote For Change Tour” ).
A spokesperson for the Dave Matthews Band could not be reached at press time.