DMB Driver Pleads Guilty

Dave Matthews Band bus driver Stefan Wohl has admitted to dumping 800 pounds of human waste into the Chicago River. He pleaded guilty to charges of reckless conduct and discharging contaminates to cause water pollution, according to a spokesman for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Authorities claim the bus driver was alone on DMB violinist Boyd Tinsley’s bus when he emptied the contents of its septic tank onto the metal grates of the Kinzie Street bridge August 8th.

The human waste landed on the deck of the Little Lady sightseeing boat, which was crossing beneath the bridge and had more than 100 people on board.

Wohl was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine (the maximum), serve 18 months probation and serve 150 hours of community service.

Assistant State’s Atty. Robert Egan negotiated the plea agreement.

“Nobody was hospitalized, nobody had any broken bones and I personally verified that no one had any long-term illness or lasting effects from [being in contact with the sewage],” Egan told the Chicago Tribune. “But a bunch of people on the boat got ill with human waste products.”

Wohl no longer works for DMB. The bus driver initially denied dumping the sewage.

Prosecutors said the band cooperated in the investigation, and DMB has donated $50,000 to the Friends of the Chicago River and $50,000 to the Chicago Park District.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a civil suit against the band and Wohl, seeking $70,000 in damages and alleging they violated state environmental laws. The next court date is scheduled for April.

Other civil suits brought by boat passengers are pending, as well.