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Apple Valley Man Accused Of Driving Zamboni Drunk

APPLE VALLEY, Minn. (WCCO) -- A 34-year-old man was arrested Monday night after he was allegedly driving a Zamboni while drunk at a hockey game in Apple Valley, according to police.

Authorities were called to Hayes Arena in Apple Valley at about 8:06 p.m. Monday from people at the arena who were reporting that the Zamboni driver appeared to be drunk.

"The coaches noticed he was off the mark quite a ways, bumping into the boards and having trouble maneuvering the machine and thought they need to call someone for help," said Randy Johnson, Apple Valley's Parks and Recreation Director. "They knew something was wrong. He was not operating it like he normally does."

One man who was at the Arena said he saw the driver with the water 'off' during four laps. The typical 10 minute job, he said, took 25 minutes to finish. "He just couldn't drive a straight line," according to the man.

When authorities arrived, they saw that the driver, 34-year-old Joel Keith Bruss of Apple Valley, struggling to maneuver the Zamboni around the ice.

Officers made contact with Bruss after the Zamboni came off the ice. Bruss is a part-time worker at the arena. Authorities said Bruss was unsteady on his feet and smelled of alcohol. After field sobriety testing, he was arrested for DWI.

Authorities said blood alcohol level testing was done at the Apple Valley Police station. Test results have been submitted to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for analysis and have not yet been released.

Johnson said that when Bruss started his shift around 4 p.m., nothing was wrong with him. "He's been a good employee. He's been dependable," Johnson said.
Bruss has been suspended from his position.

A check of Bruss's criminal background shows that he was guilty of at least three other drunk driving cases. He was guilty of DWI in 2002 as well as two other DWI's in 1999, one in April and one in July. He was also guilty of minor consumption in 1998.

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