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Designated driver a great idea that just doesn't work

Designated driver a great idea that just doesn't work

May. 13, 2006 12:00 AM

He's a bit of a dreamer, a guy who had an idea that is, well, brilliant.

Logic would tell you that it won't work. Finances would tell you it can't.

Yet Greg Murray has gotten more than 300 drunken drivers off the road this year. That's 300 people who didn't run you over. That's 300 people who didn't ruin their lives or someone else's.

That's worth something, despite what logic and finances seem to suggest.

Murray, 49, has always worked in transportation. For a while, the Tempe man hauled caskets to funeral homes in Las Vegas.

All those hours on the road give a man time to think; all those coffins in the back give him something to think about.

"Life is short," he tells me. "Man, you'd better do what you want to do because you only have one. You've got one shot, and if you're going to go for it, you might as well do something good."

A couple of years ago, Murray came up with an idea. Like a lot of people, he had knocked back a few beers on occasion and pondered whether to call a cab or chance driving. The idea of risking an encounter with the cops didn't appeal, but neither did the idea of leaving his car behind and having to retrieve it the next day.

So Desi the Designated Driver was born, a service to get you and your car safely home. It took awhile to develop the rig, not a tow truck but a fancy flatbed that allows him to drive a car right onto it.

He started in 2004 and caught the eye of Hensley. The local Anheuser-Busch distributor decided to subsidize Murray's operation to get it off the ground, which allowed him to charge only half the $50 fare.

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