When Tech students received an alert warning them of a black limousine giving “free rides,” college students reminisced about the childhood warning about not getting into cars with strangers.
The limousine was driven by Gerald New, one of the owners of the Textbook Corner located on Tech Drive.
The event was referred to on their Facebook page as “Textbook Corner FREE LIMO rides to CHEAPER BOOKS.”
Sophomores Ronnie Huckaby, a mechanical engineering major, and Morgan Bollich, a chemical engineering major, were already going to Textbook Corner when they encountered the black limousine.
“We were heading to the car and then we saw the limo with a sign that said ‘Free rides to Textbook Corner,’” Huckaby said. “The guy came out and opened the door for us.”
Bollich said she was excited to be the first in the limousine.
“Free drinks and everything,” she said.
Colt Funderburg, manager of the Textbook Corner, described the incident as “Good intentions, bad results” while displaying a Facebook picture of New driving the limousine.
“Our intention was to give access to people without vehicles,” Funderburg said.
Funderburg said the store was trying to let people know they had another option.
“It was fun until they got pulled over,” he said.
Assistant Chief Bill Davis of the Louisiana Tech Police Department was one of the first officials to notice the black limousine and its driver giving rides to students.
“Driving through was one thing, but getting out and talking was too far,” Davis said. “The best part of our job is to bring safety to people’s minds.”
Davis immediately informed Chief Randall Hermes of the Louisiana Tech Police Department.
“I sent the Tech Alert,” Hermes said. “We didn’t like the idea of somebody coming on campus and getting people to ride with them.”
Hermes said he knew it was legitimate, but safety was their main focus.
Dickie Crawford, dean of Student Life/Auxiliary Services, said the Textbook Corner was in violation of campus rules and regulations.
“We need to approve these things before,” Crawford said. “It was also a violation of the contract we have with Barnes & Noble.”
Crawford cited section 6.04:31 of the 2013-2014 Student Handbook that reads, “No person may solicit, advertise, sell, or distribute material of any nature on University-owned or University-controlled property without approval.”
“Maybe we can work out something, but safety was our main concern,” Crawford said.
Email comments to pdd...@latech.edu.