Richmonders are once again concerned by the habits of valets at a downtown hotel. This comes after Josie Stone was run over outside the Hilton Garden Inn on Broad Street when a valet took a shortcut on the sidewalk. Now, there could be a new danger.
Cones block the shortcut between the hotel driveway and the parking garage where Josie lost her life, but people in the area say another shortcut now used by valets could be just as dangerous and potentially deadly.
What a Richmond man, who didn't want to reveal his identity, says he saw outside the Hilton Garden Inn blew his mind.
"It's frustrating to see them doing that as professionals," he said. "They're breaking the law and throwing caution to the wind."
He was so disturbed, he captured it on cell phone video.
NBC12 cameras captured it too. Valets in uniform, not residents, came out of the parking garage, went the wrong way on a one-way street and into a public parking lot to go back to the hotel driveway.
"There's a lot of foot traffic on the street coming off of Broad with cars, pedestrians, deliveries and people in the parking lot," the man told us.
The route takes a shorter amount of time than it would if the valets were to obey all the traffic laws. If that were the case they might have to stop at two traffic lights, and then cut through this parking lot; or they'd have to go all the way around the block through two more lights to get to the entrance of the hotel.
The witness' mind immediately turned to Josie Stone.
"It's not a possibility that someone could get hurt, it's a probability," he maintained. "It's not an ‘if' but a ‘when' it will happen and it'll happen again."
We went inside but the hotel general manager wasn't in. Another manager told us his valets are directed to turn left out of the hotel and parking managers have been replaced since the deadly accident. After our questions, valets went around the block.
A sign posted near the hotel says "pedestrians watch for vehicle traffic" and the people we've talked to say they're going to continue to do that if these valets still use the shortcut.
Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.
WWBT-TV NBC 12
P.O. Box 12
On Your Side
Video and Pics