BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- An area man has filed a lawsuit, against the owner of the Southside Sober Ride Bus in Bowling Green, claiming the operation is not properly certified by the state.
According to its owner, the Southside Sober Ride bus gives free rides mainly to those who have been drinking, and mainly college age adults.
"That's how the bus has grown, from so many people who have gotten DUIs and made mistakes. They're using the bus. We service 1,000 to 1,500 people a week. Give kudos to the kids who are making good decisions not to drink and drive." said Southside Sober Ride Owner Randy Huff.
On January 9, William D. Spears of Franklin who operates cabs in Bowling Green filed a complaint in Warren Circuit court for an injunction, claiming Huff does not have the state-required certification to operate.
"I'm not even sure Mr. Spears has standing to bring this action. This is a state licensure regulatory type of action. I don't even think Mr. Spears has the right to file this lawsuit, and we'll be visiting that with the court in the very near future," said Huff's attorney Alan Simpson.
Simpson says that's because certification is required for motor carriers operating "for hire."
"It's not for hire. It's free. KRS Chapter 281 does not prevent someone from providing free rides home for people who have had too much to drink. Thankfully the law makes sense," said Simpson.
Spears says KRS 281-619 says if a bus is nonprofit and receives money or funding, that it is operating "for hire."
"Any compensation in the form of grants or funds from anyone outside your business, that you are a for hire bus." said plaintiff and Americans With Disabilities Community Transport, and Bowling Green cab operator William Spears.
Spears thinks a donation box would fall under that statute.
"It's all been funded by me. I just can't believe somebody would want to put money over a service that's saving lives." said Huff.
Simpson and Huff say the bus does have proper insurance, but Spears says the suit he filed is about concerns for the public.
"Will his insurance company pay all those claims based on the fact that he didn't have the proper permits to be there?"
So the battle over how to save lives continues.
Huff says the Southside Sober Ride has given more than 26,000 rides since it began running last April, and he welcomes anyone who wants to begin a petition of support.
Spears is also suing for punitive damages of $2000 to $3500, for each day the bus is operating in addition to other damages, while Simpson says he will move to get the case dismissed, believing Spears may have no standing in the case.