Lewiston bar owner creates sober ride program - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Lewiston bar owner creates sober ride program

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LEWISTON, Minn. (KTTC) -- One bar owner in Lewiston is trying to combat the problem of drunk driving in Minnesota.

He's gathering a group of volunteers to provide sober rides on weekends, and Wednesday was their first meeting.

Everyone in the back room of the Cardinal's Nest in Lewiston had an important reason to be there.

"I know that I've done it. I drank and drove. I got a DWI," said Mickel Frisch. "I have a nephew that is currently serving time for an accident where he was drunk driving and there were a bunch of people from the Rochester area that were killed."

He wasn't the only person in the room who has personally seen the impact of drunk driving in small town Minnesota. Scott Smith one of the owners of the Cardinal's Nest who thought up the sober ride program has seen the destruction it can cause in his own family as well.

"My sister and my nephew were involved in an accident just outside of Rochester and it was a pretty bad accident," Smith said. "My sister was injured but my nephew sustained life long traumatic brain damage."

Smith got the idea for the program -- which would have two volunteers providing rides every Friday and Saturday night -- after his son made the offer to take customers home one night after bar close.

"That got me thinking," Smith said. "If he can do it, the people around Lewiston can do it too."

There is more to it than that Smith said. Lewiston doesn't have the taxis and public transit systems that some cities have to keep people safe, and as a bar owner, Smith says he doesn't want to be part of the problem.

"You have a responsibility to make sure that whatever you're doing to make money isn't negatively impacting people around your community," Smith said.

Smith said other bars in town would be able to call the Cardinal's Nest and use the sober ride program for their customers, but they're asking for donations of gas money

The sober ride volunteers have two cars they plan to use for the program and hope to eventually have 20 volunteers or more.

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