Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snow Ban Parking Tows Costly For Residents

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Brockton Police Chief William Conlon urges the more than 60 vehicle owners who had their wheels towed during Wednesday’s snow storm to get their cars out of storage as soon as possible because they will incur more charges the longer they wait.
“It would behoove people to get their cars as soon as they can because storage cars will be added for everyday it’s there,” Conlon said.
During Wednesday’s storm, Conlon said more than 60 vehicles were towed from city streets because they were impeding snow removal while 20 to 40 others were towed because police found that they were unregistered, and in some cases stolen.
Conlon said city officials do not want to tow vehicles, but if the vehicles are in the way during an all-day storm like Wednesday they have to go.
“It should be an incentive for people to get their cars off the street before we have to,” he said.
Conlon said about the same amount of vehicles were towed during the last blizzard in December and in every storm the department takes steps to remove vehicles obstructing roads.
In many cases officers try to find vehicle owners, but like Wednesday when the snow kept falling and police had to respond to accidents, about 70 fallen wires and other police calls, even his extended force did not have the time to hunt down all vehicle owners.
Conlon said vehicle owners should contact police to find which of the 20 or more tow operators in the rotating line for city towing got the call for their vehicle.
Conlon said tow operators were provided with owner information and are likely to contact owners as well, but police have a list of registrations and can point owners to the right company.
Sean Bastis, an employee at Lynch’s Towing, said some people have come to get their vehicles and are upset, but the snow emergency parking ban is essential during snow storms to get public safety and medical vehicles to emergencies.
“People are upset, but if you don’t move your car—shame on you,” Bastis said.
Bastis said under state law tow operators are allowed to charge $90 for a police-ordered tow, and $4 fuel charge is added. Storage fees are $35 a day—a cost that was increased Nov. 8, 2010 after more than 20 years at $20.
Also adding to the cost is a $50 parking ticket each towed vehicle and about 200 others who received parking tickets for violating the snow ban.
Tow companies were not the only ones who had to listen to the wrath of parking ban violators who had their cars removed.
Police arrested Ethiopia Russell, a 25-year-old Newbury Street resident, and Christopher Brookens, 25, of Brockton after police ordered two vehicles towed from Russell's Newbury Street address and a disturbance allegedly ensued.
Russell and Brookens were charged with interfering with police officer in performance of duty, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

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