Law enforcement and prosecutors apply the state’s drunk driving laws broadly in Minnesota. This blog has recounted stories involving a snowmobile DWI arrest, an ATV-related DWI arrest and more. Now a story comes out of Apple Valley alleging that a Zamboni driver has been arrested for DWI.
The 34-year-old man was arrested after a hockey coach called police. Earlier in the day, the coach had thought the Zamboni driver smelled of Red Bull, which is a non-alcoholic drink. The coach further said that at one point the Zamboni driver’s eyes appeared red, saying the Zamboni driver “looked like I do when I have my allergy attacks.” Allergy attacks are not prohibited in Minnesota’s DWI statutes.
Apparently, the Zamboni driver was weaving while steering the ice cleaning machine and reportedly slurred his speech, according to witnesses. Eventually police were called in and they claim the Apple Valley man failed field sobriety tests. The man was hauled in to the police station on suspicion of DWI. Law enforcement apparently obtained a blood sample, which will take time to process at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. No charges have been filed.
The state laws prohibiting drunk driving apply to many types of motor vehicles. The Minneapolis StarTribune mentions a story from several years ago that made waves after police auctioned off a modified and motorized easy chair that was subject to vehicle forfeiture related to a DWI case.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals, however, has recognized a defense challenge to DWI charges brought against a physically disabled man using a motorized scooter. The appellate court ruled that the scooter in that case was the same as a wheelchair. Minnesota law excludes wheelchairs, or “an electric personal assistive mobility device,” from the definition of a motor vehicle in the DWI laws.
Source: Minneapolis StarTribune, “Apple Valley Zamboni driver allegedly drunk while on the ice,” Pat Pheifer, Jan. 31, 2012