Confrontation Over A Saved Parking Space Altercation Goes Viral

by admin on January 7, 2013

From time to time, we have read parking space stories on E-hell. I believe the most recent was about a man that threatened a woman and her children as well as taking a swing at her and smashing her window, all because he felt she took a spot he was waiting for. I have one or two parking space incidents in my 39 years, but what happened in my town last week really speaks volumes about how aggressive some people can be. Some of you may have heard of this because it hit the national media and the young lady who was the victim was on one of national morning talk shows this week.

From the reports and newspapers, a teenaged female was standing in a parking space, saving it for her brother or a pregnant relative, depending on which account you read. (The newspapers say her brother, she said on the morning show a pregnant relative). Another customer of the store sees the space attempts to pull in. When she sees the girls standing there, the vehicle stops, then suddenly accelerates forward, striking the girl. The woman driving the vehicle was arrested and charged with reckless conduct.–White-C-Video-released-in-Cornett-reckless-conduct-case?instance=main_article


I know that we will have varying opinions on the matter, so I just want to add my own. I don’t agree with the idea of people standing in a parking space to “save” it. It’s dangerous and a terrible idea, as proven by this story. Moreover, her brother or the pregnant relative (whoever she was “saving” the space for), asked/told her to “jump out and stand in that space for me”. I understand that most customers want to park as close to the store as possible, particularly during the holidays when their carts will be full of gifts and groceries and if you are pregnant, but it is so not worth getting hurt over. This girl was lucky she was not more seriously injured. I think the other customer should have just found another space but I think this shows just how aggressive people are over parking spaces.

Just to be clear, I do not think the victim deserved to be hit. I just don’t understand why anyone would put their teenaged relative in a dangerous position over a parking space. I have two teenage boys; my 19 year old is 6″5 and built like a linebacker but I would never ask him to stand in a parking space to save it for it for me. Most of the time, I try to park a little further back to avoid parking space drama. The exercise will not hurt me and I don’t have to deal with people who have parking space rage.


The lady who hit the teen with the car in this story was a member of the Bartow County School Board in Cartersville, GA. She resigned her position, effective today. The resignation was posted online. Below is a link to the resignation that was posted on Facebook.

When it went national on the morning news programs, she decided to resign. Another life in a mess due to agressive, over the top behavior.   01-3-13


{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous January 8, 2013 at 8:50 am

Not surprised by this at all. I live in the area and the driver is known for her dramatics and over-reactions. I think this is the most serious, criminal thing she has done but she definitely has an entitlement issue.


Tracy January 8, 2013 at 8:56 am

@TimeLady: “I’ll admit that I get bouts of rage against the entitled people (of all ages, mind you, not just youths, though I’ve seen them too) parking in the parent-and-child sections of my local supermarket, denying me the ability to retrieve my wriggly 2-year-old-son out of the back of the car without potentially damaging anyone *else’s* vehicle. ”

I don’t understand. Your store has spots reserved for parents with children, and people are parking outside of actual parking spots? Is that correct? If not, how are they denying you the ability to get your child out of the car?

@LadyR: “Reading further story’s apparntly she was saving the spot for her brother’s girlfriend who had just had the baby. As for why that particularq spot, its next to th cart dock and easiest for transporting baby as you can put the bucket seat right in the stroller and then return it easily when you’re done without having to leave the bab in the car. ”

I did the same thing when I had a young child – I’d rather park close to a cart corral than close to the store. But from what I’m reading, it sounds like there were other spots right next to that one, which would have been convenient to the cart corral.

As for people who whine about the lack of close parking spaces for pregnant women… pregnancy is a condition, not a disability. If you’re having issues that make it difficult for you to talk, your doctor should be able to get you a temporary handicapped parking permit. If you simply don’t like walking because you’re sore and tired, well, there are lots of us in that condition, pregnant or not.


spyderqueen January 8, 2013 at 9:07 am

Stories like this actually make me glad that my mother has trouble parking straight, and therefore always parks at the far back of the lot. Almost no competition for those spaces. And if the lot is full enough for there to be competition, she doesn’t want to be a store that packed to begin with (if it’s really important, she’d send one of us in and drive around the lot til we emerged).


Rap January 8, 2013 at 10:40 am

” I’ll admit that I get bouts of rage against the entitled people (of all ages, mind you, not just youths, though I’ve seen them too) parking in the parent-and-child sections of my local supermarket, denying me the ability to retrieve my wriggly 2-year-old-son out of the back of the car without potentially damaging anyone *else’s* vehicle. He’s energetic and eager-to-be-off, I’m unable to move properly thanks to lower-back and hip problems that aren’t *quite* severe enough to warrant getting the “blue badge” to park me in the disabled bays, which I’m fine with. ”

I’m just going to point out that there are a lot of people without kids who also are just shy of the “blue badge” who don’t have kids to get them better parking. Not to be harsh, but you’re the parent, regardless of where you park, its your job to keep the wriggly energentic two year old under control and not damaging other people’s cars and its a wee bit entitled to complain about not always getting the special priveledged spot.


Stacey Frith-Smith January 8, 2013 at 11:36 am

@Leighanna- your story made me laugh! Maybe it’s the pepper pots that live the longest.


livvy17 January 8, 2013 at 11:42 am

This reminds me of how crazy I find parking at the mall. Even with beautiful weather, people will drive in circles, cut each other off, and generally fight for parking spaces a few feet closer to the door, then they go inside an literally walk for a mile!! Crazy.


Valerie January 8, 2013 at 11:56 am

Good heavens, until I read the commentary on this, I had no idea it could be dangerous to stand in a parking space, as long as people could see you before they whipped in.

For instance, yesterday I was driving down a lane in a Wal-Mart parking lot, and encountered a group of people standing there in the middle, talking. I waited for a minute and then waved for them to move. I didn’t run them down because I’m not evil scum, and I would never have expected to see someone else run them down, either.


Lily in NYC January 8, 2013 at 12:10 pm

A woman in my neighborhood is in a coma because of this very situation. She was saving a spot on my street and a guy got so angry that he beat her badly enough to almost kill her. This was two years ago; she is still in a coma and he is in jail.


LonelyHound January 8, 2013 at 4:26 pm

This reminds me of a parking incident that happened to me a few days ago. I was parking in a mall lot and picked the aisle closest to the mall doors. the only reason for this was it was 12:30 pm on a work day, it lead directly out to the roadway and I spotted plenty of spots in the aisle (though near the back). When I got into the aisle there was a black sedan sitting with its blinker on slightly off to one side obviously waiting for a potential parking spot. There was then a small silver car behind her and then me. the silver car honked at her because neither that car nor I wanted to go around and potentially damage her car or others. Finally, after waiting for many minutes we both went around. the silver car found a spot two spaces away on the opposite side from where the black car was and I found one 4 spaces down on the same side. As I walked to the mall I noticed that the car the black car was waiting for had a mother with THREE car seat age children. From what I could tell the lady had loaded all her bags and one child. Meaning she still had two more to go. I also noticed the black car had backed up on an angle now completely blocking the aisle, like she was afraid someone would try and take her spot. Well, this action was too good to miss. I stood there and watched. The mother loaded up the next little one and a line of cars formed behind the black car. Mother gets the 3rd child to at least sit, but not stop wiggling, so she can try to buckle in the kid. Now the other cars are honking. Like I said before this is one of the aisle that exits to the road, so not oly are people looking for the spaces but also to leave from lunch shopping. The people in the line of cars are starting to get frustrated, quite understanably, when the mother gets a phone call. Thankfully for the other cars it is brief. She gets into her van but now the black car is blocking her exit! I am laughing as the poor mother is trying to pull out, she is feeling the ire of the other motorists all because of one little black car. She pulls out then has to pull back in. You would think once the black car realizes that she is blocking the space she wants so badly she would move and find another, I mean the whole lot is essentially empty (the row next to this one had no less than 10 visible spaces). NOPE. She backs up into the car behind her. Since, that car had been trying to make her move by closing the space between them there was not much room to move. More honking blasts. The van spends time backing out, pulling and repeating trying to get out of the space because it is obvious that black car is going no where. When the mother finally does clear the space the black car hits the gas to get into the parking space only to slam on the brakes because she was not correctly positioned to enter properly. She signals to back up but, rude or not, the line of cars zips behind her preventing her from backing up until they all have passed by. I was laughing so hard and laughed even harder when I checked my watch. All in all she had been waiting for that spot for about 10 minutes! She could have been parked in less than 2 if she had not wanted that stupid spot so bad.


Goodness January 8, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Judging from just the video, which — let’s face it — means I’m probably wrong, it looked to me like the driver assumed the girl would jump quickly out of the way to avoid being hit, while the girl assumed no one would actually drive into a defenseless pedestrian. So neither of them gave ground. Living proof of that old adage about what happens when we ‘assume.’


LawGeek January 8, 2013 at 8:18 pm

I stood in a spot to save it exactly once. My friend had just gotten back from six months serving in Afghanistan, and had driven 8 hours from her base to NYC to get her dog , who I had cared for when she was away. I live in a crowded neighborhood of apartment buildings, so parking is very difficult to come by.

She called to say she was around the corner; I went outside, and saw a parking spot. I stood in it to save it for her, knowing that otherwise she could have to circle for hours. A person pulled up, asked if I was saving it, then nodded and drove away when I said yes. My neighbors are almost universally awesome (something about this part of Queens). If I were in the suburbs where I grew up I never would have done it; people there are more belligerent.

Of course, had there been plenty of spots (as in the video) I wouldn’t have done it. My husband was vehemently opposed to me doing it, as he considered it rude. I agreed, but thought these were extenuating circumstances, and figured I could explain if anyone objected. She then arrived and took the spot, and happily reunited with her dog. I suppose I was lucky,but while I did feel a bit wary of my rudeness, it never occurred to me that I might be in danger.


TimeLady January 8, 2013 at 9:18 pm

@Tracy: I don’t know where you’re from (and if it’s the US, I have no knowledge of car parks there so I apologise for my ignorance) but in the UK the supermarket has a small, set number of spaces with extra room each side (roughly a foot on left and right) making it much easier to get a small child in and out of the vehicle. Much like a disabled space, but kindly reserved for people with small children. There are, understandably, far fewer than disabled spaces, and I will quite cheerfully get the car parked in a normal space if they’re all taken. I just find it rather frustrating that there are people who seem to believe they have some sort of god-given right to park in the spaces that are clearly marked for parents and children (with polite signs requesting that these spaces are kept for the use of said parents and children) when they have no children.
I’d also like to add that, at least in the part of the UK in which I live, it is a lot harder to get a temporary handicap badge. Myself and a handful of other expectant mothers suffered from SPD whilst carrying our children, which, in my case certainly, meant I was only capable of shuffling with crutches, and was best in a wheelchair (or those motorised things that I am apparently entirely incapable of handling without crashing into the ends of bays). However, the fact I (and two of my companions) could pretty much not walk anywhere unaided by crutches and/or wheelchairs, was not a ‘good enough’ cause (according to the government agency that oversees these things). I have known a number of other mothers who have suffered with the same problems during pregnancy.

@Rap: I can see where you’re coming from, but surely it’s just as entitled for people who have no children, and are clearly capable of moving around freely (like the young lads still decked in their football kit from the local five-a-side centre down the road) to use the parent-and-child parking spaces? I am more than happy to ensure that my son doesn’t damage anyone’s vehicle(s), because it is, as you say, my job. I just wished to point out that it’s quite difficult to handle him, a trolley, and the aforementioned back problems alone, whilst attempting to avoid said other vehicles, and it’s a situation much easier in the allocated bays. (Again, I’m not sure where you’re from, but the local carparks here have exceedingly small spaces). Obviously, my name’s not branded on any of the parking spots, and I wouldn’t expect it to be. I also don’t feel that specific ones are “mine”. I’m quite happy to have the spaces furthest from the store if needs be. It isn’t walking the distance that’s the biggest problem (though dang but juggling him and a walking stick can be such an amusing sight I’m sure!) but the fact the designers have gone, “Yeah, let’s let parents have a bit more wriggle-room, that’ll help (And get more customers here woohoo)”, which makes most parents I know go, “Oh thank goodness I don’t have to try and impersonate Cirque du Soleil to get DS/DD into the car”, but some customers go, “Oh look, these spaces are a tiny bit closer to the store so we MUST have them instead of the ones that are still pretty close to the store but are a row thattaway”.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just nursing a pointless grump here!


Mrs. Lovett January 9, 2013 at 9:18 am

I just had an encounter with a rude and careless driver in the Wal-Mart parking lot the other day. I had just crossed an open space and was about to open my door to get in my car when a driver in a very large, wide van decided to pull into the open space. I know he saw me, as we made eye contact. I had already started opening my door, when he whipped into the space. Thankfully, my reflexes were quick that day (as they usually aren’t), and I was able to slam my door shut and hug against the side of my car. The van was wide enough and he moved fast enough that if I hadn’t, I believe his side mirror would likely have hit me or hit my car door or both. It was frightening to say the least. If he had been patient and waited three seconds or so, I could have been safely in my car before he pulled into the parking space, but this was clearly too long a wait for him. *sigh*


Tracy January 9, 2013 at 9:49 am

TimeLady, thanks for the explanation. I am from the U.S. and am unfamiliar with this type of parking. It seems like a good compromise might be to move the parent-and-child spots farther away from the entrance. That way, they’d be less appealing to those who don’t need them, but they’d still be useful to parents.


Enna January 9, 2013 at 12:38 pm

The woman in the car was crazy – you don’t do that! Yes the teenager was wrong but there was plenty of space for the other woman to go to!


Enna January 9, 2013 at 12:39 pm

P.S the teenager DID NOT desevere that.


Kit January 9, 2013 at 12:41 pm

To Kirst &co: At least here where I live, parking lot is considered “street”, not “sidewalk”, therefore, something meant for cars. Standing on street – yes, that is dangerous. Stopping to tie your shoe? Would you stop in the middle of a street to do that, or would you cross the street first?
(I guess I should mention like others that it doesn’t make driver’s actions less criminal or something.)

Thankfully, I had never before heard of keeping parking space for someone! What next – let’s ask someone to stand on crossroads to keep that first position in turn line for us?


Rap January 9, 2013 at 5:05 pm

I actually would class a parking lot a little differently than a street. In a parking lot, drivers have to be aware of pedestrians and the fact that pedestrians are walking from their cars to the store in the lot itself. Standing in a parking lot is not the same thing as standing in a busy street. If I was walking from my car to a store in a parking lot, while I would maintain some awareness and not stand in the area where cars are going by, I would feel reasonably safe standing in an empty spot for a moment to tie my shoe. A parking lot is a place where the driver has to be constantly aware of pedestrians. Even before we get into how using the car to push people out of your way is wrong, I just wouldn’t equate it with being on a regular street.


TimeLady January 9, 2013 at 6:04 pm

@Tracy – No problem! I agree, moving them further away would make a lot more sense. Indeed, the supermarket I’m referring to in my little grumble actually has a few of them around the corner from the entrance (only 4 spaces) but they are neverever free when we arrive. Perhaps other parents don’t wish to be involved in the mad rush to get those ‘choice spaces’?


Amanda H. January 9, 2013 at 8:27 pm

@TimeLady, you said your parking spaces are rather small. That’s probably the problem, right there. With very few exceptions, parking spaces in the US are large enough that if everyone is centered in their space, there’s still enough room to swing even the doors of an SUV open fully without hitting your neighbor. (Let’s not get into the people who park crooked, too far to one side, etc.) So getting a child in and out of the car is manageable no matter where you park.


Clare January 10, 2013 at 1:42 pm

This one takes the biscuit….

As I was returning to my car parked outside our local supermarket I saw a small lady in a huge car hit the car next to it as she was backing out of her space to exit the parking lot. It could be heard quite clearly and indeed, she left quite a dent. Her own car was old and full of all sorts of bumps and bruises from past driving exploits…and the car was so big she could barely see over the steering wheel.

The owner of the other car saw what happened too and we both shouted “come back” and indeed we were pleased to see that at least she had second thoughts about just driving off after her negligence.

Instead she stopped right alongside the car she had damaged, rolled down her window and looked at the damage she had caused.

She then said “sorry” to the other car owner, put her window up and drove away without a care in the world. The owner of the damaged car and I looked at each other in such absolute astonishment that neither of us had the tenacity to get the tag number.


Clare January 10, 2013 at 1:59 pm

I cracked up recently me when I saw the able bodied son park his legally disabled mother’s car (without his mother in) straight into a handicapped spot outside my local gym where he spent an hour on the treadmill before driving home


Kit January 10, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Eh, I actually got confused how does that “saving a spot” usually work? I understood the case with LawGeek who was called and went out, that is, was not in the same car, but how does it work in an usual supermarket lot? You let a passenger out when you are next to lot to save that very same lot for you? You let a passenger out further away of the spot expecting he/she will make it by foot faster than you by car? You tell someone to get there by public transport to save a place for you?

As I said I had never before heard about saving spots. I think if I saw someone standing in the middle of a parking spot just looking around (or tying a shoelace), I would probably think that person is there accidentally and give a beep so that he/she would notice me and move away. If he/she kept standing… well – what a jerk, doesn’t he/she see I want this spot!


Rap January 10, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Kit, basically it goes like this. You’ve in the parking lot and you just pass a spot that frees up. You can’t back up, so the passenger gets out of the car, and goes to stand in the spot, holding it for you while you circle around and come back for it.


TimeLady January 10, 2013 at 8:15 pm

@Amanda H – Thanks for the clarification. Odd how little things like car parks are so vastly different. I think the local councils like to try and fit as many spaces into one car park as humanly possible, hence the small spaces. Often, no matter how well you park, you usually have at best the ability to open your door and slide out. You definitely can’t open said door all the way, which is pretty much a necessity when removing a child from their seat and is, as I’m sure you can imagine, a right pain in the proverbial when you can’t.


Amanda H. January 11, 2013 at 3:13 pm

@TimeLady – Completely understandable. I’ll second the earlier notion that the parent-with-kid spaces should be placed further away from the store to make them less desirable to the average shopper.

Here, the tiny spaces you describe I’ve only seen in very old parking lots, poorly-planned lots, and lots with compact car spaces, which *aren’t* designed for minivans and SUVs. My friend has a compact car and the compact spaces are almost too tiny for it in some places. I can’t imagine trying to fit my Jeep in there and still get my kids out.

Funny story about that: once when I was a preteen my family went to Washington, D.C. for a trip. We went to this one parking garage that was jam-packed with cars. We circled the place for a while and the only available space we could find was a compact space between another car and a pillar. We could fit our minivan in there, but not actually get out of it if we did. So my dad stopped before the space and Mom got all us kids out and waiting off to the side. Dad then pulled into the space and, since he couldn’t actually get his door open without scratching the car next to us, instead climbed through the van into the cargo space in the back, where Mom opened the hatchback door and let Dad out. Luckily for the car next to us, Dad had made sure he wasn’t blocking *their* driver’s door when he parked.

Personally, when I’m at the grocery store, I don’t circle the lot looking for the closest empty space. I usually go for a space next to a cart corral, preferrably with sidewalk or grassy median near enough as well that I can deposit my kids there while I get the shopping bags and baby out. Parking near the cart corral means I don’t have to go far with my empty cart once I’m done unloading kids and groceries back into the car.


Kate January 11, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Ah, the more things change, the more they stay the same. My great-grandmother would save parking places that way back in the 1950’s and 60’s when she and my great-grandfather went shopping downtown. She was quite stubborn when it came to cars, apparently. Thankfully, my great-grandfather did most of the driving…


GleanerGirl January 12, 2013 at 11:12 pm

Even at my physical worst, I still tended to park far out in the lot, for safety reasons. Better to walk a longer way (slooooowly, if necessary), and be safe than park up close and deal with the crazies.

My sister had health problems, and needed to be up close, so I would either drop her off, or park closer for her sake. But even with my own injuries, I still prefer to park farther out.

I agree – no one deserves to be run down for a parking spot. Yet, it’s just not a good idea, nor polite, to stand in the space to save it.


GleanerGirl January 12, 2013 at 11:19 pm

Rap – pedestrians have the right of way. This is true. Sometimes, pedestrians are crossing at the crosswalk, with a light, and still get hit by inattentive drivers. The right of way does not prevent injury.

I was hit by a car, once, while crossing at a crosswalk. The car was stopped at the stop sign, and was watching for traffic. She needed to turn right, so she didn’t care about traffic coming toward her on the right. She only cared about the traffic on the left, so she only looked left. Meanwhile, I saw the stopped car, and the crosswalk, and I started to cross. I was halfway in front of her, when she started to turn right. Fortunately, she was moving slowly, and I banged my fist down on her hood, and she stopped before she hurt me too badly. I was able to hobble way, and she felt horrified. I’ll be that she checked both ways before turning right, from then on.

Any way, I absolutely had the right of way, but I was still hit. So, yeah, standing in the parking space is not safe. People are aware of the fact that pedestrians may be crossing in a cross walk, yet they still hit them. People aren’t even expecting pedestrians in a parking space. Many cars, while racing for a space, pull in quite quickly, and don’t have time to see who might be standing there.

Saving parking spaces really is quite dangerous.


Rap January 19, 2013 at 10:50 am

Gleanergirl – I certainly don’t disagree with you that pedestrians can still get hurt. But… when push comes to shove, one of my responsibilities as a driver is to make sure I’m not parking my car on a pile of bodies. 🙂

I wouldn’t recommend saving a parking spot this way, but neither would I assume standing in front of the spot is higher risk for being hit than simply walking to and from the car, or that walking from my spot to the store or whatever in the parking lot is extreme high risk. I just don’t consider the act of being in a parking lot high risk behavior.


KC February 7, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Ehh… A parking space is intended for vehicles, not for people. It is beyond rude and presumptuous to think you can stand in a parking space to save a spot for a motorist. It is IMO tantamount to ‘cutting in line’.

That’s my opinion on the etiquette part of this post. The other part.. with the voluntary manslaughter, or assault, or what have you is WAY beyond. There is no reason to strike or pretend to strike another living being ever.

Both actions reek of self-entitlement. Although, to be fair, selfishness is not a crime but assault is (and should be).

Any suggestions on how a civilized being is supposed to deal with ‘space savers’ or ‘line cutters’? It’s not exactly something you can call local law enforcement about.


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