- Associated Press - Thursday, October 16, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The Nebraska Liquor Control Commission chairman said his agency should have jurisdiction over party buses, days after a Nebraska Wesleyan University football player was struck and killed while walking on Interstate 80 near Lincoln after riding one of them.

Lancaster County officials say a Wesleyan student rented the bus 22-year-old Maury Lorence was riding in over the weekend. Passengers were drinking alcohol on the bus which stopped at a truck stop. When the bus left the truck stop to return to campus, Lorence wasn’t on the bus and got left behind.

The jurisdiction over party buses currently falls under the Nebraska Public Service Commission, but Chairman Bob Batt said the state’s liquor commission is the right agency to handle them, the Omaha World-Herald reported (https://bit.ly/1sXCCE1 ).

“In matters as dealing with alcohol, we should be the sole authority in the state,” Batt said, “because that’s our business and our only business.”

Batt said a mandate in requiring one party bus rider to stay sober, watch over other passengers and keep track of who is on the bus could help keep people safe and prevent another accident in the future. But he also noted that riders need to be accountable for their own safety.

“You can’t mandate common sense,” Batt said. “You have to just make it part of your everyday life, just to be safe.”

Tyler Wullenwaber, co-owner of Elite Party Buses, which rented a bus to the Wesleyan student, said the company has checks in place to prevent riders from being left behind. He said the driver usually checks to make sure nobody is left behind before leaving a bar, gas station or any other stop.

The driver also asks the renter if everyone that’s supposed to be on the bus is present. If the renter says all riders are accounted for, the bus will then leave, Wullenwaber said.

The director of the Nebraska Public Service Commission’s Transportation and Railroad Safety Department declined to comment on whether action would be taken against the party bus company because there’s an ongoing State Patrol investigation.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com


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