The manager of a Dallas limousine company is giving a refund to a group of Marcus High School teens after their party bus driver was cited for driving without a license.
A driver for A2Z Limos took about 20 students to their prom at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Dallas Saturday night. On the way home, the limo was stopped by police.
Highland Village police stopped the party bus because of malfunctioning parking lights and then discovered that the driver of the bus did not have a license.
"Stuck on the side of the road, prom night. Lights flashing, other peoples party bus rolling by, rumors started on Twitter," said Troy Hopper, a senior at Marcus High School.
Rick Hopper, Troy's father, said his son told him they’d been stopped by police and needed a ride.
Rick Hopper said he thought the worst until an officer on the scene told him by phone that the teens were fine — it was the driver who didn't have a valid driver’s license.
The Highland Village Police Department confirmed that two citations were issued to the driver for the lights and license.
Police also confirmed a search of the party bus turned up no alcohol, drugs or anything else remotely troublesome for the prom goers.
The manager of A2Z Limos, who calls himself Jimmy, first blamed the teens for the stop when initially asked about the situation.
"They found some alcohol. They found a two-liter bottle with some liquor in it and there's an empty bottle of water that came out of the bus that has the smell of whiskey. I don't know what’s in it,” the limousine manager said.
The limousine manager showed NBCDFW a copy of a contract for the party bus including restrictions where the fees were forfeited if teenagers were caught with alcohol. He was adamant that alcohol was found on the bus and even showed us a crushed water bottle that still had a splash of what smelled like alcohol.
The manager defended his driver. He said the driver hadn’t been cited and did nothing wrong, but admitted he hadn’t spoken to Highland Village police yet or his own dispatcher.
The allegations that the teens were to blame enraged their parents who, after attempts to get a refund on the party bus, were organizing to possibly sue A2Z Limos for endangering their children and failing to uphold their agreement.
“I don't know what's worse, making good kids look like bad kids or putting kids' lives in danger with an unlicensed driver in a big vehicle,” said Hopper, a parent who went out in his own van and picked up all the teens.
On Monday, A2Z Limos backpedaled on its initial assertions that the teens were to blame for the traffic stop. The manager said that he’s since learned the original driver did not show up for work that night.
He said his company did not want to disappoint the teens on their big night, so a dispatcher asked one of the maintenance workers if he could fill in and drive. The maintenance worker was able to fill in for the driver, but was unlicensed.
The manager attended a meeting in Highland Park Monday night with parents of the teens to offer an apology and promised to refund the $1,800 that the teens paid for the rental. He said he would meet with each parent at the company's bank to provide the refund.
He also apologized for making a quick decision and sending a maintenance man to drive the vehicle after the original driver didn't show up.
"I'm gonna take actions to my staff, what needs to be done," he said. "I came here to apologize to family and the kids."
NBC 5's Ray Villeda contributed to this report.