City council ordinance targets under-aged drinking on party buses

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The Chicago City Council is considering cracking down on under-aged drinking on commercial party buses after a shooting ing last month involving one of those vehicles.

Three people were wounded Oct. 11 from gunshots fired during a party bus trip in the South Loop. The ordinance was filed three days later by Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th) and Ald. Ed Burke (14th), both former police officers.

The measure would require party bus operators to designate someone 25 and older to check IDs of all passengers, and for that person to make sure anyone under 21 does not drink alcohol. The ordinance also would require operators to ensure that anyone chartering a bus is licensed to sell alcohol in the city.

The Oct. 11 shooting occurred that at a South Loop gas station when a fight broke out among the passengers, spilling out onto the street where the shots were fired. Three men in their early 20s suffered leg and arm wounds.

In April, a woman was shot in the leg by another passenger while riding a party bus Downtown; that shooting was believed to be accidental.

Taliaferro said there needs to be tighter regulations on party buses. If someone is shot, there’s no record of who the passengers are for police to interview, the first-term alderman said.

“There’s no manifest, and then there’s no control as to who’s drinking on those buses, so we need to look at it a little deeper to determine how it should be regulated,” Taliaferro said.

Two other incidences occurred on Chicago party buses last summer and spring.

A 19-year-old man was shot in March while riding a party bus on the South Side. And in June, a 25-year-old woman who was riding on a party bus fell to her death from a bridge railing in the 400 block of East Wacker Drive.┬áBoth incidences were signaled out by Ald. Burke at the council’s Oct. 14th meeting.

“We’re offering this ordinance which will hopefully begin a crack down on this,” Burke said.

Ald. Willie Cochran (20th), Ariel Reboyras (30th) and Anthony Napolitano (41st) are also sponsors.

Taliaferro said something needs to be done to protect residents, noting he never had any incidences as a cop with party buses.

Violence on party buses have been reported in other U.S. cities.

In 2012, a Long Island high school senior celebrating his graduation on a party bus allegedly shot a 20-year-old man at a rest stop, according to the New York Post. The shooter and 18 other passengers reportedly got into an argument with the group at the rest stop. The victim suffered gun shot wounds.

In November 2013, one man was killed and another injured following a shooting in Hollywood after a late night concert. The two men were shot while their party bus was parked outside the concert that was letting out, according to KTLA5 News.  Party bus shootings have also occurred in Minneapolis, St. Louis and Memphis.

The Chicago ordinance is currently in committee.


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