Maricella Miranda, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Published June 03 2012
Drunken Zamboni driver pleads guilty, gets probationAPPLE VALLEY, Minn. - A man will serve two years of probation for driving drunk in January while operating a Zamboni at an Apple Valley ice arena.
Joel Keith Bruss, 34, of Apple Valley was sentenced Thursday, May 31, in Dakota County District Court after pleading guilty to gross misdemeanor driving while intoxicated. Two identical charges and a less severe drunken-driving charge were dismissed in the plea.
Bruss also received two days’ credit for time served in jail.
Witnesses called police Jan. 30 to report Bruss driving the Zamboni erratically at Hayes Arena, according to a criminal complaint. When police arrived, Bruss had gotten the Zamboni stuck half on and half off the ice.
He eventually got the machine free, the charges said.
Bruss told police he drove to work in his personal vehicle. Bruss’ speech was slurred and hard to understand, and he couldn’t keep his balance, police said.
He was arrested and submitted to a urine test, which later revealed that he had a 0.32 blood-alcohol concentration. The legal limit to drive in Minnesota is 0.08.
Witnesses at the arena told police Bruss had missed some spots on the ice the first time he attempted to resurface it. When he tried a second time, witnesses had to tell him to turn on the water. One witness said Bruss drove the Zamboni into the boards of the rink so hard that the machine bounced back about six feet, the complaint said.
Apple Valley parks and recreation director Randy Johnson said there was no damage to the arena. Bruss had worked for the city for 15 years.
Bruss was suspended from his part-time job after the incident. His attorney, Mark McDonough, said Bruss no longer works for the city. He declined to comment further on Thursday’s court hearing.
According to state court records, Bruss was convicted of driving while intoxicated once in 2002 and twice in 1999.
An attempt to reach Bruss by phone Friday at his home was unsuccessful.