Piss bottles? How 'bout a whole tank .

| 8/30/2004

If you get pissed off about truckers who leave behind jugs of yellow fluid beside the road, get ready to blow your stack.

A tour bus occupied by rock singer Dave Matthews – a man well-known for his pro-environmental political stands – is accused of dumping raw sewage from the bus while driving on the Kinzie Street bridge over the Chicago River Aug. 8, unleashing the filth onto the heads of passengers on a tour boat below. The Illinois Attorney General’s Office placed the amount of sewage-turned-millinery at 800 pounds.

You read that right – 800 pounds of pro-environment poo.

Needless to say, boat passengers were not pleased. And neither were city officials. The boats that ply the Chicago River are frequently filled with hundreds of passengers, and the band’s bus driver could face charges.

The Chicago Tribune reported that a security camera at the nearby East Bank Club recorded the bus crossing the bridge at about that time. And while the doodie dousing was not caught on camera, the security tape showed that the Matthews bus was the only bus that crossed the bridge around that time.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan didn’t wait for a criminal complaint from city officials, however. Her office filed a civil suit against the band and tour bus driver Aug. 24 in Cook County Circuit Court.

Madigan’s office said the three-count complaint charges that the Dave Matthews Band and driver Stefan A. Wohl violated the Illinois Environmental Protection Act and discharged a contaminant into a waterway without the proper permits. The suit also charges the band and driver with being a common law public nuisance.

Passengers on the tour boat included a person with disabilities, senior citizens, a pregnant woman, an infant and a small child, according to a release from Madigan’s office.

“This act was not only offensive,” the attorney general said, “it was illegal.” 

The state’s lawsuit seeks $60,000 for the alleged water pollution violation and $10,000 for the permit violation. The suit also asks the court to compel the band and the driver to reimburse the state for its legal costs.

Ironically, Matthews is the author of a song titled, “Don’t Drink the Water.”

Sounds like good advice.