By RICK HAYES
MT. VERNON —
A longstanding New Year’s Eve tradition provided by a Mt. Vernon business reaches its 25th year in operation this holiday.
Rick’s Towing will be providing free rides to people who have consumed too much alcohol on New Year’s Eve — a service the business has provided since 1987.
“I started this a long time ago when a friend of mine got killed driving drunk out in California,” explained Rick Heck, owner of Rick’s Towing. “You shouldn’t be driving drunk and you should think about other people who are out driving, and maybe even consider putting yourself at risk.”
Heck will be offering the free rides and tows to Jefferson County residents from 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve until 3 a.m. on New Year’s day.
“We’re not a taxi cab. We won’t carry people from party to party. They’ll have to call a taxi from the bar. We’re offering a service to them and their car safely. We won’t tow their car and leave them at the bar. If they’re ready to go, we’ll tow them and their car home from wherever the party is located,” Heck said.
Through the years, Heck said there have been as few as three or four people take advantage of the service and as many as 50.
“It varies from year to year,” Heck said. “I think the year we had only three or four I saw three DUI’s in the newspaper the next day or so. That tells me they should’ve called our number.”
Those wanting to take advantage of the service may call Rick’s Towing at 242-4500.
Heck believes he has seen a significant increase in the number of people using the service in recent years.
“I think this program has reduced the DUI’s in our county considerably since prior to offering the service,” Heck said. “As far as the intoxication levels, if you’re drunk, you’re drunk. It doesn’t matter if it is .08 [the state’s legal limit] or 1 or whatever. Don’t be one of those people who say, ‘I’m okay, I can drive home.’ Please call us and we’ll see that you get home safely.”