October 8, 2013

Maine bus had 22 underage drinkers on board, police say

Charges are filed after an Oakland officer stops a speeding bus early Sunday and finds the Colby students inside.

By MATT HONGOLTZ-HETLING Morning Sentinel

OAKLAND — What began as a routine traffic stop turned into something more when police stopped what they said was a speeding bus early Sunday morning and found 22 underage drinkers.

A group of Colby College students hired the bus to take them to and from the college to a party in the nearby town of Rome, said Oakland Police Sgt. Tracey Frost.

The bus was stopped for speeding about 1 a.m. on High Street by Oakland police Officer Bryant Laverdiere, Frost said. Laverdiere boarded the bus to talk to the driver and noticed young people “and a definitive smell of alcohol,” Frost said.

Breathalyzer tests showed that every underage person on the bus had been drinking alcohol, Frost said, and each of the 22, who ranged in age from 18 to 20, was summoned on a charge of being a minor consuming liquor.

Two of the students, Zoe Gaffney, 19, of New York, and Robert York, 20, who was listed by his college address of Mayflower Hill Drive, Waterville, also were charged with aggravated forgery, because they gave officers false names and then signed them to their original citations, Frost said.

In general, Frost said, the students were cooperative and apologetic.

The bus also held 10 students of legal drinking age who were not charged with any crime.

The driver received only a written warning for the speeding offense because he had a good driving record, Frost said.

Frost said the offense and the names of the offenders were reported to Colby administrators.

The young people are all scheduled to appear in Waterville District Court on Dec. 17. The crime is a civil offense, punishable by fines, typically about $200 for a first offense.

 

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling can be contacted at 861-9287 or at:

mhhetling@centralmaine.com

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