Pixel Tracker

Saturday, December 15 , 2018, 11:31 pm | Fair 47º

 
 
 
 

DA’s Office Files Charges Against Driver in Santa Barbara Party-Bus Bust

Alonzo Houston is accused of allowing minors to have alcohol and marijuana on board the chartered bus last November

D&D Limo Bus, based in Santa Barbara, advertises a “colossal” party limo bus that seats 50 passengers. A driver for the company has been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and violating open container of alcohol Vehicle Code laws related to a Nov. 21, 2014, incident.
D&D Limo Bus, based in Santa Barbara, advertises a “colossal” party limo bus that seats 50 passengers. A driver for the company has been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and violating open container of alcohol Vehicle Code laws related to a Nov. 21, 2014, incident. (D&D Limo Bus Facebook photo)

The bus driver who picked up dozens of alcohol-toting teenagers at Santa Barbara High School is facing criminal charges.

Alonzo Houston, 49, was the only adult in sight when officers from the Santa Barbara Police Department and California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control pounced on the chartered “party bus” that pulled onto the campus to pick up the junior high and high school students.

Houston is a driver for the Santa Barbara-based company D&D Limo Bus and has been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanor, and violating open container of alcohol Vehicle Code laws, an infraction, for the Nov. 21, 2014, incident.

The charges were filed Tuesday by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office, according to filing deputy Lee Carter.

The open container infraction is for allegedly allowing an open container of alcohol in the passenger area, not for the driver having alcohol on the bus.

No other adults have been charged in this case but two children are being prosecuted in the juvenile court system, including the 14-year-old girl who allegedly booked the bus and promoted it on social media.

As Noozhawk first reported in February, Santa Barbara police caught 62 teenagers — the youngest was 12 and the oldest 16 — in a party bus that picked up passengers at Santa Barbara High School last November.

Officers, who had been tipped to the event, observed the students drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and marijuana, and urinating near the campus’ main entrance. When the bus arrived to pick them up around 9 p.m., the officers waited for the kids to board the bus and then busted the party.

Aboard the bus, officers found contraband “stuffed everywhere,” including bottles of hard alcohol, plastic cups, marijuana, cigarettes, condoms and markers commonly used for graffiti, according to police Sgt. Riley Harwood.

D&D Limo Bus says the booking never started since there was no chaperone on board — the bus never even started.

“It was all minors on board. There was no chaperone on board so the booking never started and would have never started,” manager Michael Jones said, adding that the company never varied from its protocols and has followed up with the Police Department regarding the Nov. 21 incident. “We will be hiring some security guards on board to start bookings from here on out.”

The bus company itself could face administrative penalties from the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates licensing for passenger carriers, including charter bus companies. Police have said they are working with investigators at the CPUC, but it's unclear if there is an active investigation into this case. 

In a Feb. 18 incident, SBPD Officer Mark Corbett pulled over a bus from the same company — with the same driver at the wheel — and found a group of underage exchange students on board with alcohol in the vehicle, police said. It’s unclear if any criminal or administrative investigation is being pursued in this second case.

Channel Drive Inc., which does business as D&D Limo Bus in Santa Barbara, has an active authority and no past investigations by the CPUC, according to public information officer Andrew Kotch. The license and insurance coverage are current.

To find out if a company has an active license and insurance coverage, search through the CPUC’s website by clicking here

D&D Limo Bus advertises a “colossal” party limo bus that seats 50 passengers and costs $600 for the first two hours and an “experience” bus that seats 25 people and costs $450 for the first two hours. The company specializes in event transport of a wide variety, including wine tours, birthday parties, quinceañeras, bachelorette parties and UC Santa Barbara fraternity and sorority events, according to its website.

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >