GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - A youth football team spent over 20 hours on a bus after it broke down several times.
The team was heading from Muskegon to Detroit to perform at the Lion's first pre-season game on August 10. They tried to resolve the issue, but had to call 13 On Your Side for help.
In May 2010, WZZM 13 reported on a similar story on Dadd's Magic Bus and Limousine. A group of passengers traveled out of state, and their bus broke down along the way.
In this most recent case, the first bus and the replacement bus broke down. The kids didn't get home, until the next day.
"It was bad. It was bad," says Jason Schmiedeknecht, the team's coach and chaperone.
Schmiedeknecht says they got a rough start to the trip. "We opened the compartments; beer cans fell out from underneath the bus. The bus hadn't been cleaned. The DVD player did not work."
The group made it to the game and had a great time, but the trip back was a nightmare. "We were on the bus for about 20 minutes and started having mechanical issues."
The bus driver did not have a cell phone, so the parents let them use one of theirs. The bus got back on the way. "There were lots of alarms, idiot lights; the driver says he needs to stop. We got to Novi."
The group ended up at a gas station for five hours. Dadd's Magic Bus and Limousine eventually sent a replacement vehicle. "They brought a bus from Grand Rapids. We transferred our gear and got back on road." Schmiedeknecht says the bus driver stopped in Lansing, then again, on the east side of Grand Rapids. The bus was overheating. "We stopped approximately five more times before Nunica."
About two hours later, Schmiedeknecht says he and another parent got the bus running again. "We had thought that if he turned the heating system on, there would be enough coolant to get us home."
Finally, 20 hours later, the team made it back home. They thought they would be getting a full refund, but that wasn't the case. Schmiedeknecht says they were offered only $85 out of the $1,300 bill.
13 On Your Side went to Dadd's garage to see why. They said they would send us a written statement, but did not. "You have to have customer service when things go wrong. They don't feel they're responsible for anything," says Schmiediknecht.
According to the Michigan Department of Transportation, Dadd's is currently licensed with the state and is due for inspections very soon.