A judge in New Jersey has reinstated the driver's license of a hockey arena employee who was accused of being drunk while operating a Zamboni®, a 4-ton ice resurfacing machine with a top speed of 9 miles per hour. The judge said operating the machine in an ice arena while drunk fell outside the state's DUI law.
John Pergallo had his license revoked in 2005 after a co-worker at the Mennen Sports Arena in Morris County called police to report that Pergallo was driving erratically on the ice and almost crashed into the boards that surround the ice.
Police measured his blood alcohol level at 0.12 percent, over the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Before showing up for work, Pergallo had Sambuca-laced coffee and two valiums for breakfast, police say.
Besides losing his Zamboni privileges with the county, Pergallo had his driver's license revoked for a period of two years, according to news reports.
Pergallo appealed, arguing that he wasn't drunk while operating the machine and that he had such a high reading of alcohol in his system because he drank beer and vodka after grooming the ice.
Judge Joseph Falcone reinstated Pergallo's license, ruling that he was not driving a "motor vehicle" because the machine is not usable on public roads and unable to carry passengers, the Newark Star-Ledger reports.
And he can't be "ZUI" either, since the manufacturing company requests that the name of its product not be used as a verb!
Sources: Newark Star-Ledger and the Smoking Gun