You may wonder what happens to your car when you leave it with the valet. Maybe they take it for a joyride, like you see in the movies?

For Nashville musician Drew Smith, the real-life ending was much worse.

"It sounds like a bad comedy movie, but it's not," said Smith. "It's real life. And it's bad."

Smith says around 1:30 p.m. on March 23, he left his car with the valet at the Nashville Hilton on 4th Avenue, something he does it often when he plays at the nearby Swinging Door Saloon.

He says about ninety minutes later, the valet attendants tracked him down inside the bar and asked for his keys.

He didn't have them.

Thirty minutes later, he got a call from the valet.

Smith recounted the conversation: "I answered the phone and he says, 'Hey man, I don't know how to tell you this, but we've messed up.  And some guys just jumped in your car, and they took off. They stole it. We called 911, but dispatcher said you have to be the one to call'."

"That's at 3:30 p.m., so it'd been sitting there almost two hours with the keys in the ignition," Smith continued.

Three days later the story took another turn, when Smith heard from police.

They said they found his car the night it was stolen, after it was involved in an accident at Gallatin Pike at Montecello Avenue.

It was abandoned and on fire.

The car was hauled to the Metro Impound lot, where Smith said it remains today.

According to police, witnesses saw the driver take off after it crashed.

Drew Smith has been without a car ever since.

Police are investigating the case for theft and hit and run. Smith says it's costing him a fortune, and his insurance won't cover it.

“I would like a car," said Smith. "I need transportation. I’m losing money by the fistful between cabs, ride sharing, trying to borrow cars from friends. Giving them $20 and asking, 'Can I borrow your car for the day?'"

News4 reached out multiple times to the Hilton. We have not heard back.

Smith says he just wants resolution.

"It’s affecting me personally and professionally. It’s a very stressful situation."

News4 has since heard back from Towne Park Valet Company, who said they were not involved but they did submit a claim to their insurance company:

The safety or our teams, guests and their property is our first priority. This is an unfortunate situation, at no time were we in possession of the car keys or did we exchange a claim ticket with Mr. Smith. The theft was promptly reported to authorities and is under investigation. A claim was submitted to our insurance company and is being reviewed as part of their standard process.

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Tracy Kornet is an award-winning anchor, host and writer. She joined News4 in September 2014.

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