Owner: Issaquah party bus drinking violation is ‘isolated incident’
October 28, 2011
By Warren Kagarise
NEW — 1 p.m. Oct. 28, 2011
Hours after Issaquah police recommended charges against a party bus driver accused of purchasing booze for teenagers, the bus’ owner said the violation is “an isolated incident” for the company.
The party bus driver, a 49-year-old Auburn woman, faces charges in Issaquah Municipal Court of furnishing liquor to minors and reckless endangerment — both gross misdemeanors punishable by up to one year imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000.
Issaquah High School administrators suspended nine students for alcohol infractions in connection to the party bus incident. Police and school administrators started investigating the incident after intoxicated students arrived at the Oct. 22 homecoming dance.
Seattle Party Bus owner Bill Wolsted said the woman, a longtime driver, had been suspended after the incident and later resigned from the company.
“We do not provide alcohol in any way, shape or form,” Wolsted said Thursday. “We can’t even take it from their house or their apartment to the bus. They bring it to the limo or whatever, we can’t touch it. Our company policy is that we cannot touch it.”
The regulation applies to minors and adults 21 and older. However, clients often ask drivers to to purchase alcohol for them so they can drink aboard the party bus.
“This is totally against all of our policies and most other party bus companies,” Wolsted said. “It’s not tolerated and it’s an isolated incident that’s going to be dealt with accordingly.”
Police said students aboard the bus convinced the driver to purchase alcohol for them and collected money for the purchases. The driver then purchased beer and liquor from the state-run liquor store along Northwest Gilman Boulevard.
“Buying alcohol is absolutely no,” Woldsted said. “That is for anybody.”
Later, at the homecoming dance, officers and school administrators encountered intoxicated students from the party bus. Officials suspended four students at the dance and five more students at school in the days after the celebration.
Issaquah Police Patrol Cmdr. Scott Behrbaum said Wolsted cooperated during the investigation.
“This was an isolated incident and it’s going to be dealt with accordingly,” Wolsted said. “We are in total support of the police department and the school to get this thing totally resolved, and not to happen again.”