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N.J. judge: No such thing as Zamboni DWI

4/11/2007

NEWARK, N.J. -- It's not drunken driving in New Jersey if it
involves a Zamboni.

A judge ruled the four-ton ice rink-grooming machines aren't
motor vehicles because they aren't useable on highways and can't
carry passengers.

Zamboni operator John Peragallo had been charged with drunken
driving in 2005 after a fellow employee at the Mennen Sports Arena
in Morristown told police the machine was speeding and nearly
crashed into the boards.

Police said Peragallo's blood alcohol level was 0.12 percent. A
level of 0.08 is considered legally drunk in New Jersey.

Peragallo appealed, and Superior Court Judge Joseph Falcone on
Monday overturned his license revocation and penalties.

"It's a vindication for my client," Peragallo attorney James
Porfido said after the hearing. "It's the right decision."

Morris County Assistant Prosecutor Joseph D'Onofrio said no
decision had been made on whether to appeal.

Peragallo, 64, testified at his trial that he did drink beer and
vodka, but not until after he had groomed the ice. However, he told
police he had a shot of Sambuca with his breakfast coffee and two
Valium-pills before work.