Man Guilty of Drunken Zamboni Driving
We had a story last month about a guy from Traverse City who was arrested in 2013 for being drunk while driving a four-wheeled electric scooter that tops out at 4 mph. He was on a public road at the time. And had an open beer with him.
William Lyon's attorney didn't deny that his client was drunk, but attempted to have charges dismissed since the scooter wasn't a motor vehicle. They fought it all the way to the state Supreme Court, but the court let stand the charges against Lyon in last month's ruling.
Today, we learn that 27 year old Steven James of Fargo, North Dakota, was sentenced to nine days in jail, fines and a sobriety program. That's because back in January, his blood alcohol level was FOUR TIMES the legal limit to operate a motor vehicle when he crashed a Zamboni around the ice at a girl's hockey game.
James' attorney argued that while the DUI law in Fargo specifically cites that it's illegal to operate a tractor, snowmobile, boats and other recreational vehicles while legally drunk, it does not mention Zambonis. Valiant effort. The Judge didn't buy it.
To his credit, Mr. James did have a pretty decent plan on the fateful day at the ice rink. Before his job, he'd reportedly been drinking at a friend's birthday party. He rode his bicycle to the game and planned to take a cab on the way home. After people at the hockey game notified authorities that they Zamboni driver was 'not right', he was arrested and jailed.
Also to his credit, he is deeply apologetic and has been sober since the incident.
And, it occurs to me that this is another opportunity to brag about how I got to drive the Zamboni at Munn Arena on the campus of Michigan State University many years ago. I was sober.