Bus company says it was a victim of scam artist
Fri, 09 Jul 2010 02:07:24 GMT — WACH (COLUMBIA) - The man accused of accepting payments to take a group on a bus trip to Florida, then failing to provide the service is under arrest.
According to the Richland County Sheriff's Department 33-year old Darnell Williams turned himself in Thursday morning.
But - that hasn TMt stopped people who said they were victimized by Williams, owner of Palmetto Coach & Tours, from coming forward.
Mary Lykes said she remembers the call like it was yesterday.
"He was very believable...smooth talker, urgency in his voice," said Lykes, Manager of a Columbia charter company Brooks & Cavalier.Lykes said in August of 2009, Williams called Brooks & Cavalier and promised to pay the bus company $3,000 if they would immediately pick up a group of 55 people and transport them to Atlanta.
Lykes said her company didn TMt hesitate to rescue the stranded group " but when it came time for Williams to pay, Lykes said all he gave were excuses.
"His bus was broken he was having transportation problems then we couldn't get him on the phone," said Lykes.
And Lykes said that wasn't the only time she felt scammed by Williams.
In May of this year, Lykes said she received a call from a group of stranded girl scouts who said they paid Williams $2,000 to take them to Florida.
"They called a frantically they'd been out there all day in the heat waiting on Darnell and palmetto coaches," said Lykes.
Lykes said her bus company later transported the troop to Florida.
And even though officials say Williams turned himself in, Lykes said the thought doesn't bring her much comfort.
"I would say that he will probably going to get out and do the same thing again on bond," said Lykes.
WACH FOX NEWS has tried several times to contact Palmetto Coach and Tours but our calls were never answered.