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

Updated: April 11, 2007, 12:02 PM ET
Associated Press

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.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press