A limousine bus driver was arrested on April 14 after many of his passengers — all between 16- and 17-years-old and most of them students of Sewanhaka Central High School District — were found “in various stages of intoxication,” state police said.
According to troopers, Luis Guevara-Henriquz, 26, of Hempstead, had picked up the minors in Garden City and was driving them to Montauk. Troopers of State Police Riverdale Station said they discovered more than 100 cans of beer and “several gallons of various opened and empty whiskey and rum bottles” inside the Coachman bus, which was carrying 42 youths. The arrest was made on eastbound Sunrise Highway, ST-27, at a rest area between exits 65 and 66 in Southampton, Suffolk County. Troopers arrived at the scene after receiving a 911 call at 9:30 p.m. about a female screaming at the site, and said they arrested Guevara-Henriquz “due to the intoxication of the youths, the amount of alcohol on board and the condition of the bus.”
Sewanhaka District Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Cheryl Champ, told the Herald in a statement that the trip was private and was not school-related in any way.
“While we are obviously concerned and disappointed to learn of this incident,” she said, “it was a private event that was not organized or sanctioned by the school district, and did not take place on school grounds. As such, the district has no jurisdiction.”
Champ added that the district will consider expanding its current character education program, which includes a comprehensive substance and alcohol abuse component, and will also cooperate with authorities during their investigation, which police said is ongoing.
A call to Coachman Luxury Transport, of Woodbury and Farmingdale, was not returned.
Guevara-Henriquz is charged with endangering the welfare of children. He was processed and issued an appearance ticket returnable to Southampton Town Court at a later date.
Police said that the youths were turned over to their relatives and additional charges are pending.