COVID-Defiant NJ Gym Owners DUI Dropped: Report – Patch

CINNAMINSON, NJ — Ian Smith, the South Jersey gym owner who made headlines when he defied state COVID-19 restrictions, will not face a DUI charge after pleading guilty to other traffic offenses.
The former District 3 Congressional candidate admitted to refusing to take a breathalyzer test and careless driving when a judge cleared the DUI charge, his lawyer told NJ Advance Media. For nine months, Smith will also have a breath indicator ignition interlock device installed in his car, that report said.
Cinnaminson Township Police officers pulled him over in the early hours of March 27, 2022, and took him into custody for driving while intoxicated. Smith was running as a Republican candidate for Congress at the time.
Smith said on Oct. 6 that he had signed sale papers and his resignation at Atilis Gym in Bellmawr. The gym is still open, he said.
Smith and Atilis Gym co-owner Frank Trumbetti gained national fame when they chose not to follow a mandate from Gov. Phil Murphy that ordered all gyms and many other small businesses closed in the first six months of the pandemic.
Smith posted on his Facebook page Thursday to thank his supporters and affirm his innocence.
“From the moment of the incident I stated my innocence and today proved that beyond any doubt,” Smith wrote. “The charge was dropped, because there was no case. I accepted a guilty plea for refusal to submit to a breathalyzer, of which I am fully guilty. I do not trust the government, would happily do it again, and would never give them any opportunity to paint me in a false light.”

He added that he had no resentment against the officers who pulled him over.
“Today I was proven correct in my claim of innocence but fully understand you were doing what you thought was right in the moment,” he said. “Stay safe on the job.”
In 2008, when Smith was 20 years old, he was convicted and sentenced to more than five years in prison for causing a drunk driving crash that killed a Galloway teenager.

“When I awoke that morning, I didn’t realize there was still alcohol in my system. Being a 20-year-old kid, no one ever explained those dangers,” Smith said previously. “It was always don’t drink and drive, and we didn’t drink and drive.”

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