Editorial: Poor choices led to teen booze bus
Hopefully, the teen booze bus to nowhere will at least deliver some consequences and common sense to those who were involved and those who hear about it.
A luxury party bus was discovered late Monday at a rest area in Southampton off the Sunrise Highway. On board were 42 passengers ages 16 and 17, many of them drunk, according to State Police. Gallons of liquor and at least 100 beer cans were found in the coach.
The ride from Coachman Luxury Transport of Farmingdale and Woodbury was free. It was owed to a parent to make up for mechanical problems when a bus was rented for a prom last month. A State Police spokesman said troopers responded Monday after the bus parked at the rest area and a report came in of a girl screaming. The bus had picked up its passengers in Garden City and was en route to Montauk, but there was no plan for the kids to get off at any point.
Think about how many people had to make horrendous decisions for all this to come about: the parent who arranged for the bus and did not board it as a chaperone, whatever person or people supplied the alcohol, every parent who allowed his or her teenager to go, the bus company management that allowed such a trip to take place without a chaperone, and the teens themselves.
The driver was charged with endangering the welfare of a child. The company's owner says the driver had no idea what was going on until he stopped the bus and investigated in back. A judge and/or jury can determine the validity of that claim.
But why stop with the driver? The owners of the bus company, the parent who arranged the party and whoever supplied the booze shouldn't be off the hook. And parents who let their kids go on the unchaperoned trip to nowhere, a perfect metaphor for unrestrained youth partying if ever there was one, need to rethink their rules of the road.