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A sad cautionary tale of poor judgement

Discussion in 'New England' started by DEinspanjer, Aug 31, 2014.

  1. DEinspanjer

    DEinspanjer Member

    Apr 1, 2013
    Salem, NH
    #1 DEinspanjer, Aug 31, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2014
    After typical Tesla time with my landscaper who came over to plan out some work, I offered a quick test drive around the block. I asked my typical two questions, nothing to drink and a valid driver's license with no restrictions.

    I sat behind the driver and his coworker was in the passenger seat. We pulled out and the seatbelt chime started. I told him it wouldn't stop until he buckled, but he said it was fine. He goosed the accelerator to get up to speed. From there things went weird and scary though. He asked about traction control and suggested turning it off, but I declined. He gunned it again which left us going too fast on a residential road. I asked him to slow down and he did, a bit, but then he said he wanted to see how it handled on the curves and gunned it again.

    He raced around the first curve and both the passenger and I were asking him to slow down and stop but he gunned it through a second curve and lost control.

    We slid sideways and went off the road into a wooded ditch on the left side of the road passenger side first. The passenger rear door struck a tree and the car spun then struck another tree on the rear driver side door. Finally it hit one more tree in the front and stopped.

    All the curtain and side air bags had opened. None of the front ones did. I had blanked out a bit for a few seconds, but when I came to, I saw the driver lying across the passenger with his head between the windshield and dashboard. He got up and started climbing out. The passenger unbuckled and got out on his side as well.

    I had the wind knocked out of me and it took a little while for me to catch it. I managed to unbuckle but my right arm hurt and had no strength. I laid down on the rear seat for a few seconds, but there was acrid smoke in the cabin so I did not want to stay. I wasn't able to open either rear door so I had to crawl over the front seats and out the passenger door.

    I walked out of the woods and up to the road where a crowd had gathered with a couple of people talking to 911.

    There was no fire, the smoke I saw and smelled cleared up. Not sure if it was an electrical short or maybe just from the explosion of the air bags.

    Tesla called me about one or two minutes after the wreck to check in and see if there was anything they could do to assist.

    The EMTs checked me out and determined my arm did not have a compound fracture or severe break, but something was clearly wrong with both my shoulder and elbow. I think I might have reached out with my right arm to brace against the driver seat before impact which caused me to jam it. I declined an ambulance trip and had my wife drive me to our preferred hospital. I was diagnosed with a fractured elbow and shoulder and have to see an orthopedist on Tuesday.

    The other two occupants did not have to go to the hospital although the driver had shattered the windshield in two places so I suspect he had to have a concussion at the least.

    It took the tow company two trucks and a couple of hours to extract the car. There was damage on every side and the axles were both bent, so the car is likely totaled.

    All things considered, I am shocked and horrified, but very thankful that no one else was injured and I believe the safety features of the car prevented more serious injuries.

    I had previously let several friends and acquaintances drive the car and it was always a fun and safe time. Obviously after this, I don't think I would ever be comfortable having someone else drive again. I clearly made a mistake in my judgment and I am paying for that in many ways, so I thought I would share the details to prevent the possibility of it happening to someone else who has been willing to give test drives.
  2. Krugerrand

    Krugerrand Active Member

    Jul 13, 2012
    I'd say you have nothing to feel sorry for or about, and I hope in time you'll change your mind. There's no accounting for some people and you shouldn't let one idiot ruin it for you and others. I sure hope the driver will be charged.

    Best wishes healing up quickly and without any lasting negative effects.
  3. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

    Nov 10, 2011
    Glad you're all ok. Thank you for sharing this cautionary tale.
  4. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

    Sep 11, 2012
    Burlington, Vermont
    Sorry to hear. Even someone with track experience would get familiar with the car before pushing it like this. The situation was likely made worse by having a co-worker on board. Tough lesson. Hope you heal up quickly.
  5. Frankrb

    Frankrb Member

    Jan 19, 2013
    Henderson, NV
    I will give rides , but NOBODY (Except my daughter and their husbands.....with me in the car) drives my Tesla. Verify and DON'T TRUST! Glad you are okay. I feel sorry for you , man! Thanks for sharing.
  6. v12 to 12v

    v12 to 12v Active Member

    Jul 10, 2012
    So sorry. Some people have no respect, honor or moral character. Sometimes it is hard to judge who is worthy of your trust and confidence. I hope your insurance does their job. Don't let them try to pull anything over on you while you are feeling out of sorts. Don't beat yourself up about it.

    I'd fire the landscaper and find someone else who is worthy of the work since yours isn't trustworthy or respectful of your wishes.
  7. Denarius

    Denarius Active Member

    Apr 27, 2013
    What an awful tale, I hope you get everything resolved quickly so you can get a replacement.
  8. caddieo

    caddieo Member

    Mar 21, 2013
    Palm Coast, FL
    Would it be possible to have an iPhone app or a fob function that would allow you to stop the car if your test driver refuses to comply with your test conditions?
  9. Jeff N

    Jeff N Member

    Oct 31, 2011
    That reads more like a nightmare than reality. I'm sorry you had to experience that.
  10. omarsultan

    omarsultan Active Member

    Jun 22, 2013
    Northern California
    I am curious (and maybe it varies by state) but could not the owners insurance go after the landscaper's insurance for this? Beyond that, glad no one was badly hurt and sorry to hear about the damage to your car.
  11. CatB

    CatB Member

    Mar 2, 2013
    That is so horrifying, I am so sorry that happened to you.
    Hope your arm heals well soon.
  12. mitch672

    mitch672 Active Member

    Jul 1, 2012
    Stoughton, MA
    Sad to hear about this, Daniel. I don't let anyone drive my car, you simply don't know their skill level, or what they are thinking.

    If he is under 30, no way, I would even consider it, men 18-25 have the highest insurance and accident rates for reasons. With all of that said, I hope his insurance company covers it, otherwise you'll end up taking your ex-landscaper to court for the damages (real court, the damage is way more than small claims court).
  13. radiod77

    radiod77 Member

    Oct 4, 2012
    Nashua, NH
    Sounds very much like the headstrong attitude of a landscaper I dealt with. Your guy's last name isn't Murray by any chance? Hope your arm gets better and you're back in the Tesla driver's seat SOON. That "Tesla grin" is wonderful therapy!
  14. bollar

    bollar Disgruntled Member

    May 1, 2013
    Southlake, TX
    What a shocking story! I'm so sorry to hear this.
  15. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2013
    San Mateo, CA
    Wow, what a frightening story. So sorry to hear about your injuries and glad it wasn't worse.

    That landscaper was astonishingly stupid and showed a complete lack of anything approaching adult-level judgement.
  16. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

    Oct 7, 2011
    Portland, Maine, USA
    Ouch! So sorry for your injury and best wishes for a speedy recovery. Your story reads like an utter nightmare; my condolences on your car and the endless hours in front of you dealing with insurance companies.
  17. Zythryn

    Zythryn MS 70D, MX 90D

    Mar 18, 2009
    This is the reason I am always in the passenger seat. If you go into the controls, you can shut down the car from the main console.

    To the OP, very sorry to hear about the ordeal. Very impressed that an unbelted driver came through that without a trip to the hospital.
    Hope everything gets cleared up quickly for you.

    I'm assuming you are looking for a new landscaper as this one couldn't take directions :(
  18. flashflood

    flashflood Member

    Jul 1, 2014
    Los Altos Hills, CA
    Wow, sorry to hear that. I have let friends drive, but it's always been the exact opposite experience: they're afraid to push it, even on wide open road, because it's not their car. I have to resist the temptation to egg them on, because I want them to get a full appreciation of the machine. After all, a Model S, conservatively driven, could easily pass for a Buick. But most people just aren't comfortable driving as... enthusiastically as I do. I always invite them to give it a shot (when clearly safe), but most decline. And of course, they all love the car anyway.

    What did this person have to say for himself afterward? It's really shocking that he ignored your repeated requests to dial it down.
  19. tezco

    tezco Sig P85

    Nov 9, 2012
    I expect such a fine up standing individual will take fulll responsibility for the accident. Not! Perhaps you should have Tesla pull the logs from the car to support your version of the story.

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