NORTHAMPTON - Mr. Ding-A-Ling, the Gloversville ice cream truck vendor who authorities said was harassed by rival vendor Sno Kone Joe, was charged Saturday with driving drunk in his ice cream truck in Northampton, the Fulton County Sheriff's Department reported.
Philip N. Hollister, 53, of 16 Montgomery St., had been in the town selling frozen treats to children earlier Friday night before he was arrested at 12:10 a.m. Saturday on County Highway 123, Sheriff Thomas J. Lorey said today.
Lorey said Hollister was charged with driving while intoxicated, driving with 0.08 percent or greater blood-alcohol content and failure to keep right. He said Hollister was operating his Mr. Ding-A-Ling truck and swerving, and almost struck a deputy's vehicle before the truck was stopped.
Hollister is shown with his ice cream truck
The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
"It's particularly alarming to me that he was operating a vehicle [allegedly intoxicated] and could have put little kids' lives in danger," the sheriff said.
Lorey said Hollister was issued tickets for Town Court for a later date and released.
Hollister was involved in a controversy in Gloversville in the spring that involved Sno Kone Joe.
Joshua Malatino and Sno Kone Joe owner Amanda Scott were charged by Gloversville police in April with stalking and harassing Hollister while he was working as Mr. Ding-A-Ling in that city.
Hollister said of the alleged drunken-driving incident this morning, "Obviously, I'm guilty of it and I have to pay the piper."
He also said, "I'm embarrassed enough over it. I'm trying to rectify this. It's been a nightmare."
Hollister said he was done vending Friday night in the Northampton area when he decided to stop at the Sport Island Pub and have a couple beers.
State Supreme Court Justice Joseph M. Sise ruled during a hearing in early June in Johnstown that Scott and her Sno Kone Joe business can't sell in Gloversville. Her permit had been denied by the city. Sise said Scott was unable to prove her claim the city's decision to deny the permit was "arbitrary and capricious."
Scott and Malatino, both of 62 East Blvd., were charged with second-degree harassment, a violation, and fourth-degree stalking, a misdemeanor.
Police said Malatino and Scott harassed and stalked the Mr. Ding-A-Ling driver three times in April.
Police said Scott and Malatino followed the rival truck, played their music at a high volume and yelled they have free ice cream in an attempt to draw customers away from the other truck, police said.
Police said Malatino told the Mr. Ding-A-Ling driver that Malatino's business controls the ice cream sales market in the city.
The case was fodder for newscasts and late-night comedians nationwide.
The criminal charges against Scott and Malatino are scheduled to be heard in City Court on July 29.
Mayor Dayton King said this morning he will be meeting with the City Attorney and Police Chief Donald VanDeusen later today to determine what the city will do about Hollister's permit to sell ice cream in the city in light of Hollister's arrest.
"My biggest concern is the welfare and safety of our citizens, especially children," King said.
"We don't want to rush into anything, but at the same time, we want to keep our citizens safe and we will know more as more details come out," King added.
The permit allowing Hollister to provide his vending service in Gloversville is in the name of Mr. Ding-A-Ling owner Brian Collis. The permit expires Oct. 1.
Reporter Levi Pascher contributed to this report.