Chattanooga, TN

30 Cars Towed After Leaving Them Overnight at Chattanooga Walmart, Claiming 'Employee Gave Them Permission to Park'

Zack Love

Almost 50 people parked their vehicles at Walmart in Chattanooga, TN, claiming they "received permission from a Walmart employee" to park there overnight while traveling to a casino. When the people return from their trip to Walmart, their cars have been towed. Now they must pay to get their vehicles out of the tow impound lot.
Walmart storePhoto byMike Mozart; CC BY 2.0

A group of around 50 people decided to go on a weekend trip to a casino. They wanted to leave their cars somewhere, so they chose the Walmart parking lot. It turned out to be a big mistake.

A Weekend Casino Trip Ends with a Headache After Cars are Towed

WTVC NewsChannel 9 reported that a group left their vehicles parked at Walmart on Saturday, 25 March 2023, with a plan to go to a casino overnight and return to their vehicles in Chattanooga on Sunday evening. One member of the group, Tracy Knox, said that he even got permission from a Walmart employee, and "they have been parking overnight in this parking lot for over two years."

When the group returned to the Walmart on Sunday evening, all of their 30 vehicles had been towed.

The policy of overnight parking varies by Walmart around the country. Some Walmart stores do allow overnight parking, while others do not.

Some Walmart stores have signs posted warning that vehicles will be towed (as seen in the picture below). This one on Greenway Drive does not.
No Truck or Overnight Truck ParkingPhoto byWTVC NewsChannel 9

Boondocker's Bible - a website dedicated to learning the skills of free camping - claims that "most Walmart stores allow RVs, van-dwellers, and car campers to sleep in their parking lot overnight and there are some do not." It is now clear that Walmart in Chattanooga is not okay with leaving a car there overnight. (Source: Boondocker's Bible)

Some of the reasons why are as follows:

  • "Local Laws Prevent Overnight Parking – Medium to large-sized cities have laws against sleeping in vehicles. They also have laws against camping within city limits. As a result, law enforcement officers will patrol shopping centers and kick people out. Walmart stores don’t want to see red-and-blue flashing lights in their parking lots.
  • Many Walmarts Are in a Shopping Center– Walmarts that are located inside a larger shopping center don’t have a say with their parking lots. Rather, the company that owns the shopping center set these rules and hires security to enforce them.
  • High Traffic Walmarts – Particularly those located in suburbs, or high-traffic shopping centers, large RVs can create problems with other vehicles."

(Source: Boondocker's Bible)

No Sign is Posted at Chattanooga Walmart

American Tow & Recovery was the tow service that came and got these vehicles. WTVC asked the tow company owner about the incident, and he acknowledged that this particular Walmart does not have a sign posted (at the time of the tow) that indicates "no overnight parking" and that "he was just doing his job."

Tracy Knox showed his impound ticket came to a total of $290 for one night. The reason stated on the ticket stated the "abandoned vehicle" was towed from 490 Greenway View Drive, Chattanooga, TN.
Tow ticketPhoto byWTVC NewsChannel 9

What do you Think?

Do you think it was unfair for these cars to be towed after Tracy Knox got permission from a Walmart employee to park there overnight?

Please share this article on social media so others can be informed about this story.

Sources "Can You Park Overnight at Walmart?"

Dominique, Leslie. "Casino trip turns unlucky for dozens who parked their cars at Walmart in Chattanooga." WTVC NewsChannel 9. 27 March 2023.

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Zack covers interesting and inspiring stories that impact local communities. He has a bachelor's degree and an MBA.

Huntsville, AL

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