Woman says valet brought her car back with all four tires gone

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Imagine going to your favorite restaurant, using the valet service and when you’re ready to get your car back, it’s missing all four wheels.

Usually when you use valet services you get your ticket and when you’re ready to get your car back you just flash that ticket and they bring your car back, but that didn’t happen in this case.

One woman said she was walked to where her car was parked and when she got there, she noticed her car was sitting on bricks.

“We were told that the police were there, and they allowed us to go outside, and I saw my car sitting, tilted to the side. There were two big bricks and rocks under the car. All four of the wheels were gone, and I was in disbelief," Traci Townsel told FOX13.

Townsel said she was celebrating Valentine’s Day at Seasons 52 on Poplar Avenue in East Memphis. When she tried to get her car, the valet told her there was a problem.

“The valet went to get my car, he saw four gentlemen in hoods, and he screamed out to them. They pointed a gun at him, and they ran. After that he saw that all four of my tires were gone,” Townsel said.

FOX13 learned that Seasons 52 uses a third-party service called Southern Valet.

Chris McLemore, the owner of Southern Valet, said this was the first time he’s seen this happen in his more than 20 years of business.

“I own a business that’s been here for 23 years. I want it to be safer, but based on gangs watching things, we’re having to be ever more vigilant. I talked to Seasons, and we’re going to try to get more of a police eye in that parking lot to be more vigilant," McLemore said.

McLemore wouldn’t say whether his company is responsible for what happened, but he said he and Seasons 52 are working to make things right for Townsel.

Townsel said she’s gotten her car repaired.

Police said now the search is on for the four suspects. That valet drivers said they were all dressed in black and drove away in a four-door Cadillac with a tag ending in 296.

We asked attorney Caren Nichol about the situation Traci Townsel of Memphis found herself in recently.

“They’re probably going to point to the back of the ticket, which has a lot of disclaimer language, which may or may not be enforceable depending on what happened in the situation,” Nichol explained.

“If it’s a crime like this you definitely want to make sure you call police to file a report,” Nichol said.

Nichol said normally if something happens when you valet park you want to ask yourself if the damage is done by the valet driver or a third party. That could determine who’s liable.

“If it’s damage done by the valet company then they can still be responsible despite the language. If it’s damage done by a third party then they’re probably not liable.”

Nichols said the next move is to contact your insurance agent and sometimes they’ll hire a lawyer for you.