Irritatingly, I was led to believe that this NY Daily News report was actually new, which would have made this incident the third known Zamboni DUI case in the United States. (Canadians, please advise if this has happened, or is common, up there.) In fact, it turns out to be a belated report of the second, which happened in Minnesota at the beginning of last month. (The first was in New Jersey in 2007.) I’m going to go ahead and mention it again, though, because this report did come with what apparently is newly released video of the incident, in which the impaired Zamboni driver is mocked by children:
The kids (one of whom took the video himself) probably didn’t know the driver was drunk – it sounds more like they were just mocking him for being incompetent. “Look at how bad this is!” one shouts, referring to a big strip of ice the driver missed. “Are you kidding me?” It appears that somebody realized it was more than incompetence when the Zamboni got stuck between the rink and a walkway. Police said that the driver’s BAC was .32, four times the legal limit.
As a reminder, there is a legal issue as to whether a Zamboni counts as a “vehicle” or “motor vehicle” for purposes of DUI laws. Clearly it is both of those things at least in the common sense of the term, but the judge in the New Jersey case held that a Zamboni is not a “motor vehicle” for DUI purposes partly because it can’t be operated on a public street. As I’ve pointed out before, that’s plainly not true, although I suppose the answer to that question might be different in New Jersey than it would be in Idaho or Minnesota. But so long as the Zamboni in question was not actually on the street and/or wasn’t putting anyone in danger, I’m fine with that result under the circumstances.
Should you choose to get lit up and roar out onto the ice during a game, though—assuming a Zamboni can “roar” with a top speed of maybe 5 mph—I think all bets are off.