The 2005 Honda sedan that got caught in the ocean just west of the 21 Street area in Lincoln City has been removed from the beach.
Lincoln City Police were called to the site earlier today when witnesses called 911 about a car stuck in the surf with water all around it.
Police arrived to find waves lapping over the sides and top of the car. Police identified the driver as Christine Turenne, 52, of Portland, who was not in the car as the waves surrounded the vehicle.
"She apparently drove beyond the 15th Street beach access point and past the tide line," said Sgt. Jeffrey Winn with Lincoln City Police. "We're not sure if she simply parked the car and walked off for a time and came back and found it stuck in the sand, or what."
Winn said Turenne attempted to get a tow truck to come and pull the car off the sand.
"Most of the tow truck companies won't do that due to the risks involved," said Winn.
Signs are posted on the beach at Lincoln City alerting drivers not to go beyond the 15th Street beach access for safety reasons.
"When we witness motorists driving beyond those signs, we will issue a citation for that," said Winn.
The citations are not cheap, according to Ben Cox, Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department parks manager at Devils Lake.
"The fines range from $110 to $435," said Cox, who had been alerted about the car in the surf by Oregon State Police and Lincoln City Police. The law enforcement agencies also notified the Coast Guard due to the possibility of a hazardous materials issue. The auto could leak gasoline and oil.
Cox said it appeared that there was no leak and environmental hazard from the vehicle. The Oregon Parks Department has jurisdiction over the beach. Cox called James Drayton Trucking and Excavation of Lincoln City to pull the vehicle off the beach.
"We use that company to dispose of marine animals that might wash ashore," said Cox. "But this is my first car in the ocean call since I got here in January."
Oregon State Police (OSP) cited Turenne for failure to obey a traffic control device. OSP Trooper Bryan Fitch gave Turenne a ticket for $260.
Winn said officers are frequently called to the Lincoln City beach after drivers get their vehicles stuck in the sand at the 15th Street access. He said driving on the beach can be dangerous.
"This could be a life and death issue," said Winn. "Especially if there are children or elderly people in the vehicle and it gets stuck."
Winn recommends that anyone driving onto the beach should park close to the embankment, know when high tide is approaching, and don't leave your vehicle unattended.
"A lot of people don’t understand there is a tide and the water moves in and out," said Winn "Many people see the ocean as a lake where it stays the same."