JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville man who lost his leg in a car crash said he was asked not to return to a store on the Westside after he parked in a handicapped spot.
According to a police report, Carlos Mattei got into a disagreement with a security guard at a Walmart on 103rd Street. Mattei claims the security guard told him he wasn’t eligible to park in the spot, and that the security guard said his disabled tag was fake.
Mattei, now 65 years old, was involved in a crash on the New Jersey turnpike in 2015. He and his wife were on the way to a wedding, and both had to be rushed to a hospital.
“They were thinking that I was going to die,” Mattei said.
Five years later, Mattei says life is still difficult after losing his left leg.
On Sunday, Mattei said he and his wife were going to the Walmart on 103rd Street. Mattei said she went inside while he looked for a parking spot.
“I saw in the mirror a security guard follow me,” Mattei said. “When I found one, I took that to park my car and I put my tag for handicap [tag] in the dashboard.”
Mattei said that guard -- a security contractor -- took issue with him.
“She started screaming to me that I’m taking handicap parking and I’m not handicapped. So I showed it to her and she said, ‘That’s a fake tag,’” Mattei said.
The disagreement escalated, and Mattei said his wife called the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
“The last thing she did was show me this finger (points to his middle finger) and laughing to me like it was a joke,” Mattei said.
According to the police report, the responding officer filed a trespassing warning against the couple, telling them “if they come back to the property, they will go to jail.”
“I was parking and using handicapped parking in my car with my handicapped tag," Mattei said.
News4Jax promptly alerted Walmart to the situation. A request for comment from Walmart’s corporate office was not immediately returned Tuesday evening.
A spokesperson for Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said he’s looking into the report.
News4Jax has learned that Mattei did have a previous encounter with the guard after he was idling in a fire lane in front of the store.
News4Jax reached out to Brosnan Security, the company the guard worked for, but we have not heard back.