In between selling frozen treats at the Northampton fireworks display Friday, a Mr. Ding-A-Ling driver helped himself to a few alcoholic treats, according to Fulton County Sheriff Tom Lorey.
At 12:10 a.m. Saturday, 53-year-old Phillip Hollister was headed back to Gloversville along Route 123 when he swerved into oncoming traffic, right in front of a sheriff’s deputy.
“It’s lucky the deputy was trained in defensive driving,” Lorey said. “However, it’s safe to say Hollister’s luck was not with him that night.”
The deputy turned and gave chase, and the Ding-A-Ling truck was pulled over.
“He blew 0.15, nearly twice the blood alcohol level required for a DWI,” Lorey said. “That’s a lot of beer.”
Hollister was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated, and the ice-cream truck was left for the night on the side of the road, according to Lorey. He was issued an appearance ticket and is set to appear in Northampton Town Court on Aug. 15.
When deputies searched the truck they found several cans of beer in its ice cream refrigerator.
“Evidently he was giving himself a little refreshment throughout the day,” Lorey said. “It’s a despicable thing for a man who does business with children. Sometimes they hear the music and run out into the street.”
The arrest comes just months after a court battle over Gloversville ice cream territory. Hollister claimed rival Sno Kone Joe proprietor Amanda Scott and her boyfriend Joshua Malatino were harassing him on his route.
Scott presented evidence at a hearing that suggested Hollister’s account was not entirely accurate, but the city revoked Sno Kone Joe’s license, a decision which held up through an appeal.
With Sno Kone Joe out of the city, Hollister only had Mr. Pop Pop, another mobile ice cream vendor, to deal with.
Now, Lorey said, it appears Hollister is gone from the city streets too. Shortly after the arrest, a Mr. Ding-A-Ling official called Lorey inquiring as to where the abandoned truck was parked.
“He said he was going to fire Hollister,” the sheriff said.
Calls made to the Ding-A-Ling corporate headquarters were not returned Wednesday.
Sno Kone Joe drivers Scott and Malatino could not be reached for official comment, but said in a Facebook post that “we’re not surprised.”
Lorey said to the best of his knowledge, Hollister had no prior record of drinking and driving.
According to the Mr. Ding-A-Ling website, the company requires background checks on all drivers, which Hollister evidently passed.
Hollister could not be reached for comment for this story.