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Stolen Tesla crashed, ripped in half, first major injury and potential fatality in a Tesla

For TM car owners/future owners a discussion about this is started in Breaking News thread. I wanted to keep the 'shorts' and 'trolls' out. http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/breaking-news

Cheeses. The Tesla split in two and one half part got wedged between two concrete walls. Wonder how fast he was going. Must have been full throttle or near by?

From what I remember about the crash tests of model S they came out trump up and ahead of the game. So when the S was ripped in two parts there must have been major forces impacting the vehicle on impact. Way over legal limit, and in such crashes the bulk of the S does not make the result any prettier.

Let's hope those 5 innocents motorists in the Honda makes it alive.
Would hate to see innocent people suffer death due to a crazy joyrider.

Why were the police chasing this guy?! This practice has got to stop. The Model S could have been tracked via GPS at a safe distance without the guy even knowing he was being followed. Then nobody would have been hurt.

According to one report, police stopped chase after they themselves got into an accident, the suspect kept on driving another 5-7 miles until he crashed.

I'm more interested in knowing how he stole the car. Did he get his hands on the key fob?

It sounds like the perp went through the windshield which would lead me to believe he was not wearing his seat belt.

I think the "streak" is still alive as they can asterisk this one. *Stolen vehicles being driven by convicts at extremely high speeds with no seat belts have a high percentage chance of dying in any car.

@Gen3Joe - Total agreement. In the UK they break off at 50. They would rather risk losing a criminal (temporarily) than cause this kind of carnage. This is silly cowboy stuff and it has to stop. With the air support major police departments have, that's the way to do this and trail along behind (UK model). Oh and it's pretty easy to find a Tesla, too thanks to its connectivity. It's a pretty stupid thing to steal one of these. Even more stupid is a high speed chase.

@weasel
From one article I saw, it sounds like the driver was wedged between the building and the rear half of the car, so he was probably ejected through the rip in the car. Either way, I doubt he was wearing a seat belt. To say that someone died in a Model S would be stretching.

But the statement "No owner has ever been killed or seriously injured in their Model S" would still be legit even if this guy dies!

The car had a regular calif license plate, so it looks like it was stolen from a service center.

@Flaninacupboard Great point. You have to pay to drive the safetest car in the world.

@gen3 and @john - you will have to find another example to support your cause. According to all reports, he was not being chased by the cops.

Perhaps this calls into question the wisdom of police calling off chases. Had they continued to pursue him, perhaps he would have been stopped before killing himself and causing serious injury to three other people.

@tezzla
reported as an owned car in for service

He was chased until the cruiser crashed.

Maybe it's time for Tesla to add an optional PIN entry to initially activate the Model S "car start" while pressing the brake pedal. Multiple wrong attempts could be monitored by Tesla Motors as an possible problem. Could help DUI issues as well.

I noticed in the video that in addition to the burning front half of the Model S, you can see three separate smaller fires burning in the background. It appears that they are not coming from any of the other wrecked cars, but simply small pieces of something burning on the street. You can also see small explosions that send fireballs shooting into the air, like fireworks.

Could these be battery fragments from the wrecked Model S?

@DavidN
The battery broke up and it sounds like individual 18650s were igniting and popping.

Virtually all police depts. in urban areas have strict rules about pursuit, & require at least a sgt's authorization. The rules include refusing or stopping pursuit when speeds could put other drivers at unreasonable risk (due regard regulations.) In addition, there are state laws (certainly in GA) regulating emergency driving for all public safety vehicles. In my entire career in EMS, the only examples of accidents resulting from pursuit of which I'm aware in my area have been incidents of officers from outlying rural districts chasing vehicles into the city. There will always be cowboys, but they are quickly reined in or dismissed from large municipal bureaus. If the kind of chase scene you see every night on tv happens in the real world, some patrolman - and probably his supervisor - will be in deep trouble with his bureau.
Sorry, tes-s, but your logic escapes me - if the guy was still doing near 100 after PD had already dropped off, he would surely have increased speed & reckless evasive maneuvers had he continued to see pursuers, & had the kinetic energy to do even more harm.

Around 4 seconds into this video you can see the car is not on fire and the dash display is still lit. Can't see the front seats clearly (to surmise if the driver would have made it had he put his seatbelt on) but airbags do not seem to be deployed. The timeline on the video may be off too; it starts with fire in mid-section then no fire then fire again. Also, its remarkable the front is relatively intact. What kind of force is required to send a two ton car airborne!!

Wow. Stupidity resulting in death & destruction.

I'm not convinced there was a fatality looking at the coverage thus far.

For each problem or tragedy, it is nice to consider what we could do better in the future, even if the fault for this tragedy lies with a perpetrator in this case.

If I understand the scenario, there is a nice requested feature that could be extended to help prevent this problem:

Reportedly the MS was an "owned car" that was being worked on in a Tesla Service Center.

This scenario is somewhat kindred to handing your keys for Valet Parking. The (outstanding) requested feature is the moral equivalent of a valet key (with "less capabilities") similar to what we have with ICE cars (e.g., can't open glove box and trunk?). With Tesla, the "valet key" (or "key mode"??) should restrict the speed, power, maybe even distance (under full power?), that a car can drive.

When we drop off our car at Tesla, they (we?) should certainly put the car in a mode that precludes abusive behaviour. There may be "exceptional cases" at Tesla where they temporarily need more features... but that should be the exception, rather than the rule... and certainly Tesla can craft this mode to facilitate repair, but make such theft-abuse harder.

When a user gets back their car from the valet, or SC, it should of course be easy to put the car back into "full function" mode, and it should be very apparent (screen overlay??) that this needs to be done ASAP. Perhaps it could be as simple as having an owner's cell phone, with BlueTooth connectivity (i.e., a second authentication factor?), that cancels the mode. YMMV.

The MS with electronic controls has opened a giant range of potential solutions... it is only our imagination, the brilliant Tesla engineers, and a bit(?) of code to write.... before we make most ICE cars seem more like smoke signalling technology when compared with cell phones. [Yeah... you could get features like this with ICE cars... but I like the analogy ;-) ]

I am curious how the car was stolen. I thought these cars were almost impossible to steal. My first thought was that the fob was within range to operate the car. I've heard many people say their fobs were inside the house and the car was still reading it. Any ideas? Btw that dude should have died in ANY car. Dude was going small airplane crash speed. The news made sure to note the explosions coming from the burning battery. Yeah. That happens. I saw a 2008-2010 Mazda 3 catch on fire on the side of the freeway last week for no apparent reason. No news.

From the video link above it sounds like the police broke off pursuit but the thief kept going

They didn't break off pursuit, they crashed.

tes-s +1

BTW it'll be interesting to see the media and public reaction to what seems to be the burning and "exploding" batteries scattered around the scene. They resemble sparklers or skyrockets but not bombs as do some ICE accidents. I'll take that any day over the far more devastating fires and explosions from ICEs that we've all seen over the years.

"They gave up the pursuit after one of the police cars crashed"

I do recognize there will be many "CYA" explanations of how this happened...I'm interested in how this car was stolen from the service center (did they steal the key fob?)


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