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Convicted Drunk Driver Develops Safe Ride Program

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ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Benito Capellan isn’t walking around the UT Arlington campus. He’s in Lubbock behind bars serving time for a drunk driving crash, but before he began his jail sentence he says he had to start something to help other students.

“I’ve been involved with drinking and driving in my life,” says Capellan in a direct message. “It was very tragic.”

His message is meant to reach UT Arlington students.

“I wanted to create something to where I can help others not make the same mistakes that I’ve made in my life,” says Capellan.

The former Texas Tech student was driving drunk when he hit and killed a young woman riding a bicycle. While out on bail Capellan moved back home and enrolled at UTA.

Within a few months he started developing a student run safe ride program called Gallop Safe Ride.

“Our pain comes from the life he took,” says sister Roxy Ropos “…for her to have been taken away by his decision that could have easily been avoided is what hurts us.”

While he’s in jail his sister is running the program and says it’s something they had to do, “We want to prevent the tragedy and the pain that comes with the loss.”

The service is provided to students for free.

Anyone from campus can call for a ride home if they are too drunk to drive. A car and driver will then be dispatched to pick up the student and take them home anywhere in Arlington.

“I had a friend who died several years ago because somebody was drunk driving and he was in car accident,” says upcoming UTA student Lauren Moreau “I would definitely use that program, because I don’t want to put anyone else in danger because of my bad choices.”

Capellan will finish his jail sentence in May. His sister hopes to have the program up and running by the time he’s home. The non-profit already has the cars, but is still looking for sponsors.

A UTA Spokesperson says the university does not offer a ride-home service specifically related to intoxicated persons, however there is an after-hours security escort service for anyone who might be walking alone on campus after dark.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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