If I did it: DMB dumps $$ into Chicago

The Dave Matthews Band said late last month it wants to make amends after one of its tour bus drivers was accused of dumping human waste on Chicago Rover sightseers, but it stopped short of accepting responsibility for the incident.

The Illinois Attorney General's office sued the band and the driver after the August 8 incident, alleging that the driver emptied the vehicle's septic tank while crossing a bridge over the river, dousing more than 100 tour boat passengers with raw sewage.

The band said October 22 that it had contacted the boat owner and tour operator to try to identify the affected passengers. The band also said it has suspended the driver and is making a $50,000 donation to the Chicago Park District and a nonprofit group that protects the Chicago River.

"We know we cannot erase what happened that day, but we hope by reaching out and helping now this will help demonstrate our commitment to step up if we are found to be the responsible party,'' the band said in a statement posted on its website.

The lawsuit accused the band and driver of violating state water pollution and public nuisance laws.

Melissa Merz, a spokeswoman for the attorney general's office, said the two sides were trying to negotiate a settlement and that the band's latest actions had no impact on those talks.

"We certainly, along with all Illinoisans, appreciate the gesture of goodwill, but legal negotiations are based on evidence and legal procedures, and we have not yet reached a resolution in this case,'' Merz said.

The band said it was uncomfortable with the amount of time the investigation was taking so it "decided to take action now even though it may turn out the incident was not caused by one of our buses.

"We simply want to begin the healing process,'' the band said.