Overall, I am no fan of megastores, because I spent much of my working life as a small town newspaper publisher, and I saw many small mom and pop businesses fold that could not compete with the giant retailers.

However, a news story making the rounds this week really has me ticked off. Some of you may be familiar with the story of Carl and Tracy Coltellino, RVers who, along with their two young daughters, were spending the night parked at a WalMart store, in Cedar City, Utah back in 2006, when they got into an altercation with a stranger who was creating a ruckus in the parking lot. When he knocked on their door, they opened it, a fight ensued, and the intruder, a man named Steven Stubbs, was killed in the struggle. The weapon used was a shotgun that the Coltellinos had in their RV.

No charges were filed in the shooting, but in a story in the Salt Lake Tribune, it is reported that the Coltellinos are now suing WalMart, claiming that the store  was negligent in not protecting them, claiming that they have suffered medical problems and emotional distress from the incident.

This story is so wrong in so many ways that I don’t even know where to start. When I first heard about it back in 2006, my first reaction was, “Why did these fools open their door to the crazed man?” They could have driven away, or called the police. Why did they have a loaded shotgun accessible with their two young girls in the motorhome? If it was safely stored away, and they had time to get it out and load it, again, why didn’t they instead take the time to call the police, or drive away?

And now they want to sue WalMart for the dangerous situation they put themselves in. Yeah, real nice. Thanks for your hospitality WalMart. You saved me $30 bucks on the cost of a campground. Oh, by the way, screw you, too, here’s a lawsuit!

We are fulltime RVers and have spent many nights parked at WalMart stores, truck stops, rest areas, etc. Even if somebody came to my door at night wearing a police officer’s uniform and driving a marked car, I wouldn’t open my door until I called 911 to be sure if he was for real.

I have no doubt that the Coltellino family was traumatized. Any time you have a violent encounter, it leaves a mark on your psyche. And having to take a human life is one of the worst things that anybody can ever go through, no matter what the circumstances. Even police officers and soldiers are scarred by the experience.

Last December we encountered an armed burglar in our RV while it was parked at a repair shop in Indiana. Fortunately, in the struggle that followed, nobody was killed. The bad guy got away with several broken bones, and he’s now behind bars, where he had already spent much of his life, and will spend a lot more, hopefully.

I have been exposed to violence in the past, and I’ve seen some things most people never have to see. But the event still left me shaken and second guessing myself for days afterward. My poor wife, who had not experienced that kind of thing first hand, was also very upset.

After our encounter, several people said we should have sued the RV repair shop where it happened. Why? The shop didn’t invite the thug to break into our coach.

Nor did WalMart make the Cedar City shooting happen by their negligence. If anyone is to blame for what happened there, besides the intruder himself, it is the couple in the RV, who did everything wrong, and still managed to escape with their lives and those of their children. And now they expect to profit off of it.

If I were the CEO of WalMart and was presented with this lawsuit, I’d issue an immediate order barring all RVers from parking on any company property ever again. And if that happens, we can all thank the Coltellinos and whatever shyster lawyer they have helping with this idiotic lawsuit.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

16 Comments on Screw You, WalMart

  1. Right on Nick! Just leave it to some greedy jerks (insert your own stronger noun here) to screw things up for everyone else. I would not blame Wal-Mart a bit if they banned all RVs thanks to these jerks.

  2. Al Hays says:

    I think your blog title should be Screw You – Coltelinnos (not Walmart). Too much negative for Walmart when they did nothing wrong.
    These people are way wrong and caused their own problem. Let’s see now, should I leave / call 911 or just kill someone ??? Let’s blast em ! Wow, they deserve any emotional distress they have.
    Twice in my life I have sustained serious injury on someone’s property and the fault was not with where I was but what I was doing. I could have went for a payday, but that would be wrong. Some people just can’t take responsibility for their own actions.

  3. Kenneth says:

    As usually it is someone else who is to blame for my mistake.
    The crazies loses, the Coltelinnos lose and we lose.
    I hope everyone will try to think before they act.

  4. Walt says:

    it’s called responsibility, unfortunately in todays society very few accept it. Someone else is always to blame. Wal-Mart would be very justified in banning all overnight parking in all their store lots. Like you we stay in many of their locations when going from A to B, never had a problem, why? Because we take care of ourselves and leave worrying about others to themselves. Pay attention to your surroundings, this from an old “road dog” 32 year in Law enforcement.

  5. Paul Stough says:

    Here is a post from the discussion of this topic on http://www.rvforum.net by “utahclaimjumper”

    “I know more than what was in the papers,, the father of the dead man is a good friend and customer of mine. He is a local (and very well thought of) anesthesiologist at our local hospital. His son Jim had an ongoing drug problem for years and was mostly harmless. Evidently Jim saw the Florida plates on the RV and wanted to go there, knocked on the door and an argument ensued. Jim was pushed out of the RV and shot in the back with a shotgun… The shooter was a retired NY cop living in a 1.5 Mil. home in Florida and driving an 800 thousand dollar RV, no kids were in the RV.. The local news paper did a lousy job of coverage and the local police were reluctant to persue the case considering the background of the shooter and the nature of the incident.. I spent many days consoling my friend as Jim was his oldest son and I had lost my oldest son to a motorcycle accident years ago so could empathize with the lose. Its a very sore subject around here. This is a simple case of “everthing to gain, nothing to loose”>>>Dan”

    A really sad story, and these people are making it worse.


  6. CoolJudy says:

    Thanks Paul for the additional information. A sad story for all involved. Nick, I agree that the RVers should have acted differently from the get-go. A different headline, however, would have put the emphasis on them and not Walmart.

  7. Dave B. says:

    Wow, how quickly things can go bad! I have the feeling that hot heads caused things to escalate out of control. Stories like this made me realize that rather than a gun in the RV I would rather carry pepper spray and a cell phone.

  8. Orv Hazelton says:

    I too appreciate the additional information. Violence should always be the LAST resort; apparently it was used as a first choice in this case. The fact that this gentleman was a retired peace officer should hold him to a higher standard of judgement. If indeed its so that he shot this victum in the BACK sounds like grounds for action to me. I see no evidence that would hold Wal Mart responsible. Our “cowboy” mentality needs to stop. As always, oRV

  9. Pat and Jim says:

    There just seems to be too much difference between the stories. Like they say, you just have to question everything you read on the Internet these days, as there are just too many people posting non fact based stories as real.
    Have a great day.

  10. Tom Linner says:

    You all are missing the point of Bad Nick’s headline. It isn’t negative about Wal-Mart, it is showing how these creeps look at the world. They stay for free, they ignore every basic rule of common sense, and then they feel like “screw you, Wal-Mart, it’s your fault I got in trouble.”

    By the way, the link Bad Nick provided to is a newspaper story that says two kids were in the RV. Every news story I read about this, right from the start back when it happened, said there were two kids in the RV. ?????

  11. Susan Wilson says:

    As far-fetched as some of these stories are, occasionally the broadcast media pick them up and run them without proper vetting, in an effort to be the first to report the story. As a recent example, Google “Sherrod”. Fox News made a fool of themselves.

    It seems there is always a little more to the story. Always.

    You can’t completely trust these sources anymore. I do still trust our local newspaper. I wonder??

  12. Lloyd J. says:

    Rv’s don’t kill people.Walmart has no reason to ban rv’s because of this tragic incident.It could have happened IF the Coltelinnos were driving a car,van or semi-truck. I’m sure Walmart is sued regularly for incidents in the parking area involving car wrecks,pet accidents,thefts, and slips and falls. The only way to stop these are to ban people from Walmart.I will thank Walmart (after shopping)for letting me “rest” for a few hours in their parking area.

  13. Randy Harris says:

    I’d take the comments from the RV.net forum, or any other internet forum, with a very large grain of salt. Anybody can log on, say whatever they want to say, and not have any way to prove it. Based upon previous posts I don’t know that I believe any of what was written by somebody who claims to know, as opposed to the dozen or more legitimate news stories I’ve read on this incident, which all say children were in the motorhome.

  14. Sandy Devaine says:

    I lived in Cedar City at the time of this shooting, and saw the news stories when it happened. They all said the couple had two girls with them in their RV and that the children were unharmed. I remember that specifically because my own girls were almost the same ages and I thought how terrible for them to have been there to see that happen.

    I have doubts about the validity of the post from RV.net, since my family still lives in Cedar City and two of them work in the medical field. They have never heard of a Doctor Stubbs. There is a Wayne Stubbs who is a Nurse Anesthesologist, but not a doctor, as the person who posted on RV.net says their “good friend” is.

    And who is “Jim” who knocked on the RVs door? The slain man was named Steven.

  15. Connie Braidh says:

    For more information, I found the following: http://sltrib.com/sltrib/home/.....t.html.csp

    This is an article in the Salt Lake Tribune, July 31, 2010. It’s “interesting” that the attack and killing happened in 2006 and just now in 2010 they are suing WalMart.

    What I find sad about this is that as several others have said, if these people win, WalMart and other companies may not allow overnight parking due to the liability issue. And that affects all of us. The pendulum has swung too far for lawyers and ambulance chasers. All of us have to take some personal responsibility.

    I for one just don’t see how it is WalMarts fault. Any overnighter is staying in the parking lot on their own. WalMart is not running a campground. They have no real control over the parking lot. But then McDonalds was at fault (lawsuit won by the idiot) because a idiot women put her hot coffee between her legs and scalded herself. The jury gave her 2.86 million, on appeal the judge gave her $640,000, she and McDonalds settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. While I am sorry she was hurt, it certainly was not McDonalds fault where she put the coffee after they gave it to her.

    What has happened to common sense and personal responsibility?

  16. MsKay says:

    Amen, Amen, Amen!

Leave a Reply