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Highway 1 fatality

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by Eclectic, Dec 31, 2014.

  1. Eclectic

    Eclectic Member

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    Just saw this in the SF Chronicle's website. It wasn't me, even though I drive that road a lot and was going to take the new P85D out for a run soon.

    Can't say that any vehicle would have allowed its driver to survive a 400+ plunge off Highway 1, but for those keeping stats, this is one to look into. Condolences to the family.

    Motorist who plunged 400 feet in Sonoma County ID’d
    By Hamed Aleaziz
    Published 11:13 am, Wednesday, December 31, 2014


    A motorist who died after his 2014 Tesla sped off Highway 1 in Sonoma County has been identified as San Rafael resident Louis Francis Thoelecke, 65, authorities said Wednesday.
    Thoelecke died when his car plunged between 400 and 500 feet down a mountainside in the Jenner area, said Sgt. Cecile Focha with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. The incident was reported shortly after 8 a.m. on Tuesday, the CHP said.
    Both the CHP and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the cause of the crash, which occurred between Fort Ross Road and Myers Grade Road.
     
  2. flankspeed8

    flankspeed8 Member

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    Tesla Driver Fatality - Interesting how news portrays story because it is a Tesla

    Tesla driver found dead after crash off Highway 1 in Sonoma County - San Jose Mercury News
    Marin County driver who died in crash off | The Press Democrat


    I am sure there have been other fatalities. RIP to the driver. I am posting this because it is interesting how the news portrayed the accident. One referred to the driver as a "Tesla Driver" and another article referred to the car going over the cliff specifically as "an electric car." In Hillary speak, I would say, what difference does it make if the car is electric or not? There are also some pictures of a pretty destroyed vehicle. Aside from the Tesla that was stolen, this is the only other fatality that I recall.

    As a commenter mentioned, had this been a Buick, would they have referred to him as a Buick Driver?
     
  3. bluenation

    bluenation Member

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    well, it is a tesla halo effect. the brand is perhaps stronger in media circles?
     
  4. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    Crash but no burn . . .
    --
     
  5. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    No, they would not have used the term Buick Driver. However, had it been appropriate, I do believe they also would have used the terms "Veyron Driver" or "Rolls Royce Driver" or "Duesenberg Driver".
     
  6. RichardL

    RichardL Member

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    There are reports of a similar (but unrelated) incident on Sunday, in the same area. In that case they were fleeing from a Park Ranger - no mention of the vehicle brand at all.
     
  7. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    Hwy 1 was the source of another Tesla-caused fatality early in the production run (to a cyclist, IIRC). Sad stuff. Careful on the 1, guys.
     
  8. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    Sad to hear that. Almost 2 1/2 years before the first Tesla Model S fatality, but as you say, nobody survives that in any vehicle. Must've been a terrifying plunge.
     
  9. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Uhm yeah, no matter what you're driving, you're not going to survive driving off a 300 foot cliff. Kinda slimy putting "Tesla" in the title just to get attention.

    Probably fell asleep at the wheel. Or was texting. Or maybe had a heart attack while driving. Sad but it happens every day.
     
  10. mdevp

    mdevp Member

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    dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls.jpg
    Small pic of the MS, condolences to the family.
     
  11. Bearman

    Bearman Member

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    That car got smashed up good, sorry to hear the driver didn't survive.
    At least no fire...
     
  12. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    While irrelevant to the story, as AudubonB mentions it's probably because the car is relatively rare (although maybe not in CA).
     
  13. Zextraterrestrial

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    + only a driver, no family or others involved. sad, mangled car, wow...don't do that

    Glad it wasn't the man from Marin w/ a red S that I met in Folsom on Friday, phew
     
  14. Haggy

    Haggy Member

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    It's not really a question of how mangled the car was. If it didn't get mangled at all, the person's body would have hit with the same force that mangled the car. Even if seat belts held the person in place, the internal organs would have moved with the same force that destroyed the car. The only way to prevent a death would have been with controlled deceleration. It's not clear how much of that 400+ plunge was straight down, how much of it was the car sliding down, and how much of it was tumbling down. Short of a slow slide down, it wouldn't matter what car it was unless it fell on something closer to a three story tall air bag rather than a passenger one. Mangling meant that the car absorbed some of the forces. Without knowing the path that the car took on the way down, it's impossible to conclude that it wasn't survivable, but it certainly seems that way.
     
  15. bollar

    bollar Disgruntled Member

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    <shrug> First Tesla fatality without a high-speed chase. Seems notable to me.
     
  16. NuclearPowered

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    Press democrat mentions ford ranger pickup
     
  17. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    Well, to be fair that actually happened quite awhile back. This would be the first time we're aware of that a Model S couldn't protect its owner, though. The previous fatality was after the car was stolen and crashed while on a joyride, though there were conflicting reports about whether or not that driver was wearing a seatbelt.
     
  18. mikeash

    mikeash Active Member

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    You put details in a story that are interesting or unusual. Otherwise the headline would just boil down to "man dies," or even, "person does stuff."

    Teslas are rare, thus the fact that he drove a Tesla is interesting. No, it didn't cause his death, but it's still interesting and unusual. No, they probably wouldn't say "Ford driver," but that's because Fords are common and that fact would not be interesting.

    You folks freaking out over "Tesla" in the headline sound like paranoids....
     
  19. Vger

    Vger Active Member

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    Wow, just drove my P85 down that stretch a couple weeks ago. It is a very beautiful area, but a very unforgiving drive. I made sure I was totally focused on the road, and did not drive it aggressively at all. I remember actually thinking to myself that going over the side there was one way not to survive in a Tesla. Very sad.

    It is interesting to note, from the photo above, that the B-pillars seemed not to have collapsed, at least. It looks like the A-pillars might have bent though. From the look of it, the car did tumble, and did not just slide. There are some very vertical drops along there.

    Concerning survivability: Formula One drivers survive 100+ MPH impacts all the time these days, but they are strapped in so tight they can barely breathe, and wearing the best helmets and HANS. They are also young and extremely trim and fit. A 65 year-old, even if he worked out, was no match for those forces.
     
  20. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    Given the body-sized hole in the windshield, we can safely assume he was not wearing a seatbelt in that accident. So the car couldn't really protect its "stealer" in that case either.
     

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