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July 10, 2013

For some beachgoers, a tow at the water

SALISBURY BEACH — Last Saturday was not a day at the beach for 10 car owners who had their cars towed by order of police for illegal parking at the beach.

Salisbury Sgt. Robert Roy said officers are out on patrol every day to ensure the laws are followed in town, and that includes parking regulations. Although tickets are issued for parking meter violations, when the situation warrants it, cars are ordered towed when they’re parked illegally.

“We tow cars all the time,” Roy said. “But I know we towed quite a few on Saturday along North End Boulevard.”

According to Roy, on Saturday the major infractions responsible for the police calling Amesbury Towing were vehicles parked illegally blocking crosswalks, parking within 20 feet of a corner, obstructing hydrants or parking on sidewalks. All those represent infractions of state parking regulations, he said

Another violation that can get a vehicle yanked is parking in a handicap space without a handicap plate or placard. The violation also carries a $100 fine, Roy said. And, if a driver mistakenly parks blocking a private driveway, homeowners can call police and the car may end up hauled away as well, he added.

Whatever the reason, coming back from the sea and the sand to find a car hauled away can ruin your whole day and cost a pretty penny. And, the “Happy Hooker” motto, painted on the sides of all Amesbury Towing trucks, can also cause a little jaw clinching.

According to Joe Pratt, owner of Amesbury Towing, towing fees are regulated by the state and are multi-faceted. To begin with, the initial tow fee is $90, then there’s a $3 per mile charge for every mile over the first five for the round trip from the company to the towing job and back. There’s a state set fuel fee that’s added, which for July equals 6.1 percent of the mileage and towing fee, he said, and there’s a $35-per-day storage fee that begins as soon as the car gets to the Amesbury Towing lot, and which goes up every 24 hours. Pratt said there’s also a $20 administration fee that goes to Salisbury.

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