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Incident May Aid Effort to Fight Drunk Driving : Safety: A designated-driver program for nightclubs gains impetus after a suspected drunk driver injures 7.


An incident early Sunday morning outside a Sunset Strip nightclub in which a suspected drunk driver plowed into a crowd and injured seven people may have the unintended effect of speeding up West Hollywood's effort to implement a designated-driver program for nightclubs.

The motorist, Mark Reasor, 26, of West Hollywood, was booked on suspicion of attempted murder, driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license. He is being held on $100,000 bail by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff's deputies said Reasor ran into a crowd of people blocking his exit from a parking lot. The crowd was watching a fistfight in the parking lot outside the Roxy nightclub, deputies said.

The most serious injury was suffered by Alex Miranda, 18, whose liver was lacerated. He was reported in good condition Wednesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Nancy Greenstein, the city's public safety coordinator, predicted that efforts to select a task force for the designated-driver program will now speed up as a result of the incident. The task force, which will recommend ways to implement the program, will be composed of city officials, sheriff's representatives, business leaders, club owners and residents.

"Sunday's incident highlighted just how critical an issue this is for West Hollywood," Greenstein said.

She said that the task force will probably be picked by the end of June and that its recommendations on how best to implement a program should be made by the end of the summer. City officials are hopeful that the program will be in place by December.

Greenstein said the program could include proposals asking club owners to offer discounts to individuals who act as designated drivers. The city could also pass out notices to club patrons telling them of the program, she said.

The effort to establish the program comes at a time when relations between Sunset Strip club owners and residents appear to be warming. Last month, Mario Maglieri, owner of the Roxy and other Sunset Strip clubs, met with residents to discuss how to deal with the chronic problems of noise, traffic and crowds generated by the clubs.

Residents say additional meetings with other club owners are being planned. They are hopeful that a designated-driver program, whatever form it takes, will help make the clubs safer for patrons and also help keep peace in the surrounding neighborhoods.

"It's an excellent idea," said Rachelle Sommers Smith, a community activist. "I think the clubs will be responsive, because they want to make this area more livable."

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