Bangor-Brewer parade parking dispute frustrates both sides

Posted July 05, 2011, at 8:17 p.m.
Last modified July 06, 2011, at 2:55 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — A Bangor woman said she was shocked to discover her car had been towed when she and her family returned to the Save-a-Lot parking lot after watching Monday’s Bangor-Brewer July Fourth parade.

“That was a pretty unpatriotic thing to do on the Fourth of July,” Holly Brown said in a telephone call to the Bangor Daily News after the incident.

Brown said her vehicle wasn’t the only one towed to Union Street Towing’s impound lot on Perkins Street in Bangor.

“There was another family that drove 80 miles to come to the parade,” she said.

Though the store’s management called Brewer police to deal with the two angry families, no one was charged.

In all, three cars were towed, a towing company employee said.

Store Manager Edith Lovejoy, however, said the store was trying to ensure customers had access to the spaces nearest the store, which was open for much of the holiday.

“I had an employee out there letting people know [that part of the lot was reserved for shoppers],” Lovejoy said late Monday afternoon. She said the reserved section was marked by traffic cones, but that some of the people who parked there ignored them.

Brown said she thought it was OK to park where she did because she didn’t see the cones or the employee. She also said no signs were put up to alert people that their cars might be towed.

She also said she shops at the store frequently and had done so before she, her husband, their two children and a young cousin walked to the corner of North Main and Wilson streets to watch the parade.

“I tried to show [Lovejoy] the receipt but she wasn’t interested. She said I stopped being a customer when I walked out the door.”

Lovejoy on Wednesday said the encounter was not as Brown depicted it. “I said I was sorry her car got towed but it was the customer’s responsibility not to park there.” Lovejoy added she never told Brown she had stopped being a customer.

Lovejoy said the parking lot’s location makes it handy to many major events.

“It does get out of control,” she said. She said that in the future, she will make parking rules more clear.

Brown said that the cost of getting her car out of impound would have been a hardship because the family is living on her husband’s income while she pursues a college degree.

She said, however, that an anonymous Good Samaritan saved the day for both families when he walked up to the tow truck driver and handed him $100 cash. He appeared to be in his early 20s.

“I gave him a big hug,” she said, adding that he left before she could get his name.

This story was amended to add Lovejoy’s response to Brown’s statement to the Bangor Daily News.

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