ORLANDO, FLA. — The limousine driver cited for drunken driving by her own passengers on the way to their high school prom has been stripped of her driving privileges for 18 months. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles suspended Christina Tomacelli's driver's license at a hearing where one of the passengers testified that she had swerved and driven on the wrong side of a median, missed a stop sign and appeared confused.
Tomacelli, 49, of Altamonte Springs, was charged April 9 with driving under the influence of alcohol and refusing to submit to a blood-alcohol test. She had been driving 10 young people to the Winter Springs High School prom.
One of the students used his cell phone to call home and report the driver's erratic behavior. His father called 911 as he drove to the scene.
Seminole County Sheriff's deputies said they found a half-empty bottle of citrus-flavored vodka next to the driver's seat, and that Tomacelli told them she had been drinking wine.
Tomacelli said she had not been drinking from the vodka bottle, which she said other passengers had left in the vehicle earlier that week. She said she had been drinking club soda in the limousine that night.
Defense attorney Robert Fisher had argued that Tomacelli's arrest
was illegal because no law enforcement officers saw her driving. Hearing Officer Kay Fry ruled that the arrest was valid and suspended Tomacelli's license, a penalty required by state law when a DUI suspect refuses to take a Breathalyzer.
Tomacelli said she did not know if she would appeal the suspension.