Party on wheels

Straight from the Now-I've-Heard-It-All Department comes this Associated Press (AP) report that ran in a local paper here in Connecticut under this must-read headline: Ice cream truck driver avoids jail .

It seems, reported AP, that "Susan Bottacari, 45, of Milford [CT], was pulled over in May 2006 after being seen driving erratically and nearly striking a security guard at the Southport Brewing Co. parking lot, police said." Oh, and get this: "Bottacari had been driving an ice cream truck in Milford since 1993 and was in the process of renewing her license when she was arrested, officials said. She was already on a form of probation for a narcotics possession."

But the real chilling aspect of this story is that a Connecticut Superior Court judge has ruled that if Bottacari simply enters an alcohol education program and attends classes for a year and "stays out of trouble"-- whatever the hell that means-- her drunken driving charge will be dismissed.

So far, the only punishment, if you can call it that, Bottacari has received is the loss of her license to sell ice cream and the suspension of her driver's license for six months-- and presumably she has that back by now.

Not surpringly, prosecutirs have objected to her cushy deal.

"It was serious. A person who's driving an ice cream truck shouldn't be driving drunk and, if they do, they shouldn't get the (education program)," Assistant State's Attorney Melanie Cradle said, according to AP.

Indeed. Consider this, reported by AP: "When police stopped Bottacari, they said she almost fell out of her truck. She refused an alcohol test. Authorities said they found an unopened vodka bottle in a cooler in the truck."

It it is bad enough to drive drunk in any vehicle at any time.

But to be doing so in a vehicle whose main purpose-- nay it's true puprose-- is to draw childen towards it is beyond unconscionable.

There is no shame in having an alcohol problem-- for sure most experts agree alcoholics are born with a predisposition toward developing the horrible malady-- and it is a fair bet in my view that most drug users don't set out to become addicts either.

No, the real shame rests in having an alcohol or drug problem and not doing something about it.

We can only hope that Bottacari will rise to her challenge this time around.

And if she can't, that she stay out from behind the wheel.

Especially that of an ice cream truck, for crying out loud.