Cops: Man drove bus full of drunken teens
A party bus trip that started in Garden City with dozens of high schoolers and gallons of alcohol ended in Southampton with several teens intoxicated and the driver arrested for child endangerment, police said.
Luis A. Guevara-Henriquz, 26, of Hempstead, was charged after police approached the parked bus late Monday night and found some of his 42 passengers -- all between 16 and 17 years old -- intoxicated inside, State Police said Tuesday.
Guevara-Henriquz, a driver for Coachman Luxury Transport of Farmingdale and Woodbury, was issued a desk appearance ticket and is due back in Southampton Town Justice Court on April 23, troopers said.
Most of the students were from the Sewanhaka Central High School District in Floral Park but the trip was not a school-sponsored function, said Cheryl Champ, a district assistant superintendent whose office oversees student trips.
"It is completely private, separate and apart from the school district," Camp said, adding that schools in the district are closed this week for spring break.
Guevara-Henriquz was arrested after he stopped the bus at about 9:30 p.m. in Southampton at a rest area between exits 65 and 66 off Sunrise Highway, said bus company owner Matt Delaney, who insisted his driver did not know his passengers had alcohol on the bus, one of 15 in the fleet.
Police said Tuesday they were still trying to determine who bought the alcohol.
The driver stopped when he heard a big "bang" in the bus, Delaney said. It was then -- parked at the rest stop -- that Guevara-Henriquz pulled back a curtain to see beer cans, liquor bottles and drunken teenagers splayed out amid flashing colored lights and comfortable seats.
"It's really a shame that this is happening," said Delaney, who has owned the company for 25 years. "He's been a good driver. He did the right thing."
Guevara-Henriquz has worked for the company for two years, Delaney said.
Police said they responded soon after the bus had parked and a call had come in about a report of a girl screaming at the rest area, although Delaney said there was no 911 call.
When troopers arrived they saw teenagers -- many obviously intoxicated -- and at least 100 beer cans and "several gallons" of opened and empty bottles of whiskey and rum, police said.
Guevara-Henriquz was arrested and charged "due to the intoxication of the youths," police said Tuesday in a statement.
There were no adult chaperones on the trip, police said, and it remained unclear how so much alcohol made it onto the bus undetected. None of the passengers face charges, said State Police spokesman Frank Bandiero.
It's unlawful in Suffolk County for adults to allow minors in their care in a residential setting to consume alcohol under the terms of the social host law.
Bandiero said the bus was on a journey "with no destination" and the 42 passengers had no plans to get off the bus.
Police said the teens were picked up in Garden City and the bus was "en route to Montauk."
The bus was rented by one of the passenger's parents for a junior prom on March 28. However, Delaney said, there were mechanical problems with the vehicle on the outbound journey to the prom, so the bus company gave the group a credit for another trip.
The company provides chaperones for a fee but it is the responsibility of an adult to ask for the service, according to a company employee.
Delaney said he regrets giving the complimentary bus ride.
"These kids sneak stuff in and how are you to know?" he said. "It's really the parents' responsibility at this point."
With Patricia Kitchen,
Jo Napolitano, Candice Ruud, Joie Tyrrell and John Valenti