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Auto group to make sure revelers get home free this New Year's Eve

This New Year's Eve will be the second time a local auto sales group will be footing the bill for cab rides home from Colonie and downtown Albany restaurants.

Last year, DeNooyer Chevrolet forked over thousands of dollars to Yellow Cab as part of its Safe Ride Home program, which paid the cab fare to get intoxicated Capital District residents safely home after a night of celebrating on New Year's Eve. The program was a success, and the auto group is looking to continue it to prevent drunk driving and promote DWI awareness.

I had a couple of calls (last year) where people said 'thanks' on voicemail, said Joel DeNooyer, president of DeNooyer Auto Group. "Who knows if you have saved a life, but you know you saved a bad decision."

DeNooyer started the program because he said he wanted to expand his company's involvement in local DWI awareness programs.

The automotive sales group, located on Wolf Road, sponsors and hosts a number events held by Edward Frank, a retired Colonie Police deputy chief, who has made it his mission to educate the public about the consequences of drinking and driving.

Frank's traveling drunk-driving awareness exhibit "Choices" was at DeNooyer Chevrolet over the summer. The display of mock jail cells, burned and demolished vehicles and a trailer filled with the personal effects and crime-scene photos of local drunk-driving crashes hits home with local drivers.

DeNooyer said he made it his personal mission to play a part in combating drunk driving. He began calling local restaurants to see if they would get involved. Six local establishments signed on this year.

This New Year's Eve, Yellow Cab will offer free rides home to patrons of Jillian's, Pearl Restaurant, Lombardo's, McGeary's, Jack's Oyster House, all in Albany, and the Callaway Grill on Wolf Road. From 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., Yellow Cab will give patrons rides home within 15 miles of the pickup, said DeNooyer.

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