Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

[UPDATED] 2 die in Tesla crash - NHTSA reports driver seat occupied

EVNow

Well-Known Member
Sep 5, 2009
11,572
32,175
Seattle, WA

Darmie

Super Member
Supporting Member
Jan 13, 2016
2,113
1,419
Clear Lake TX.
I heard this on one of the hourly news reports. I was surprised that it made it on the news ticker. I tell ya, when this happened, everyone at work or out in town would always ask what I thought about that accident. I would always mention it was to early for the good constable to jump to conclusions and it was wrong of him to make such comments to the media without any investigation. But, let's not talk bad about the good constable. Maybe there was an axe laying around somewhere with a grinding wheel turning?
 

DavidB

2010 Roadster Sport || 2013 S85 || 2017 X100D
Supporting Member
Jul 8, 2013
918
1,207
Silver Spring, MD
I think Jesus took the wheel.
Not that wheel, Jesus!.jpg
 

qdeathstar

Completely Serious
May 17, 2019
3,916
4,188
VB
I’m surprised they didn’t have BaC levels in the report yet. Those guys had to be loaded to think it was a good idea to drive 70mph on a residential street with a curve, especially since the driver was familiar with the road…
 

Dan D.

Member
Dec 7, 2020
854
1,060
Vancouver, BC
I’m surprised they didn’t have BaC levels in the report yet. Those guys had to be loaded to think it was a good idea to drive 70mph on a residential street with a curve, especially since the driver was familiar with the road…
According to the pictures and tire marks they started losing control just after the black pickup truck, so a launch from the cul de sac to ~67mph. What does losing control mean in the context of leaving tire marks? Was he turning the wheel and the car failed to turn, or failed to grip, or did not have full four-tire contact? Car had left side wheel(s) up? If he reached max 67mph before the black pickup, then hard braking/swerving? If he just didn't turn there wouldn't have been tire marks.

The car more or less plowed a curved path off the road, it didn't seem to have spun around. Would a successful turn at 67mph also have left tire marks? Was a successful turn at 67mph possible? It was a Model S P100D which turn quite well don't they? What made him fail to make the curve and leave marks? (Despite the obvious stupidity of even trying to drive like this)

I presume he overestimated his driving ability and drove 30-40mph faster than usual to show off how good the car was. Unfortunately he wasn't good enough, or lost nerve and let off the accelerator abruptly/swerved/braked/hands slipped.

HWY21FH007-fig1.jfif

HWY21FH007-update-overhead-fig1.jpg
 
Last edited:

EVNow

Well-Known Member
Sep 5, 2009
11,572
32,175
Seattle, WA
So, in 400' they accelerated to 67 mph, tried to turn but couldn't (assuming its too tight for 67 mph ?) and crashed. Less than 700' in all. What a tragedy.


HWY21FH007-update-overhead-fig1.jpg
 

SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
9,242
10,118
SF Bay Area
Here’s Electrek’s article on it. Quote from NTSB:

“With the assistance of the EDR module manufacturer, the NTSB Recorders Laboratory repaired and downloaded the fire-damaged EDR. Data from the module indicate that both the driver and the passenger seats were occupied, and that the seat belts were buckled when the EDR recorded the crash. The data also indicate that the driver was applying the accelerator in the time leading up to the crash; application of the accelerator pedal was found to be as high as 98.8%. The highest speed recorded by the EDR in the 5 seconds leading up to the crash was 67 mph.”

So driver did accelerate himself, not AP; driver did impact steering wheel and deform it; seat belts were worn with both men in front seats; driver climbed to back seat and died there.

As to why he drove off the street into the trees, was it the alcohol slowing his reaction and didn’t take the curve, did something run across the road and he tried to avoid it in an inebriated state but lost control (maybe leaving brake marks initially), depressed about his heath and mind not on road? That answer we’ll never know.

As for these findings about Tesla, I’m glad the EDR was able to be repaired to retrieve the info that puts this accident into correct focus. I hope the worldwide press gives the report results all the attention it deserves after slamming Tesla in the press for weeks on end. No driverless Tesla on Autopilot being driven from the back seat. Driver error. Wonder if we’ll see a comment from the good Constable formally retracting or correcting what he stated.
 
Last edited:

drtimhill

Active Member
Apr 25, 2019
2,134
2,775
Seattle
While any loss of life is tragic, people who die from self-inflicted unforced errors don't get a helluva lot of sympathy in my book.
Still terrible for the families, regardless of the cause (though yes, in some cases I'm less sympathetic than others). We will probably never know, but my guess is this was a case of hitting accelerator when the driver though he was hitting the brake.
 

Dan D.

Member
Dec 7, 2020
854
1,060
Vancouver, BC
...

As for these findings about Tesla, I’m glad the EDR was able to be repaired to retrieve the info that puts this accident into correct focus. I hope the worldwide press gives the report results all the attention it deserves after slamming Tesla in the press for weeks on end. No driverless Tesla on Autopilot being driven from the back seat. Driver error. Wonder if we’ll see a comment from the good Constable formally retracting or correcting what he stated.
Yes, they deserve to make it clear that Autopilot wasn't to blame.

You know they'll cite the difficulty of opening the rear doors after a crash with lost battery power. No evidence given yet that the driver even attempted or was unable to open any of the doors, but he was found inside the car in the back seat. One possibility is he managed to get there despite injury and failed to get out. Whether he was trying to open a door, or even knew about the hidden safety release has not been said, and it has not been released if the battery power had failed or if the car did/did not unlock the doors upon crashing. It still remains a safety concern that it is not obvious how nor easy to get out of that model of car from the back seat without battery power when the doors are locked.
 
Last edited:

mhan00

Active Member
Oct 13, 2014
1,402
1,956
Southern California
I’m surprised they didn’t have BaC levels in the report yet. Those guys had to be loaded to think it was a good idea to drive 70mph on a residential street with a curve, especially since the driver was familiar with the road…
People are effing stupid. Some idiot in Florida killed some poor lady just sitting in her house because he wanted to play with his friend’s new Plaid S. The owner was in the car and died too. They hit 115 mph on what looked like a 1/4 mile tiny, not well maintained street before plowing into her house.
 

mhan00

Active Member
Oct 13, 2014
1,402
1,956
Southern California
Yes, they deserve to make it clear that Autopilot wasn't to blame.

You know they'll cite the difficulty of opening the rear doors after a crash with lost battery power. No evidence given yet that the driver even attempted or was unable to open any of the doors, but he was found inside the car in the back seat. One possibility is he managed to get there despite injury and failed to get out. Whether he was trying to open a door, or even knew about the hidden safety release has not been said, and it has not been released if the battery power had failed or if the car did/did not unlock the doors upon crashing. It still remains a safety concern that it is not obvious nor easy to get out of that model of car from the back seat without battery power when the doors are locked.
They noted impact damage on the steering wheel. If he hit that wheel going 60+ mph it isn’t likely he was thinking about much. Concussed and disoriented at best would be his condition.
 

Dan D.

Member
Dec 7, 2020
854
1,060
Vancouver, BC
They noted impact damage on the steering wheel. If he hit that wheel going 60+ mph it isn’t likely he was thinking about much. Concussed and disoriented at best would be his condition.
So why crawl to the back seat, assuming that's what he did? To get out, get help, escape the blocked front doors, escape the fire, get a cellphone. Whatever, if he made it that far he was mobile and very motivated to be able get that far from the front seat despite his age, the difficulty of the maneuver and the magnitude of his injuries. My contention is he crawled to the back in a panic and was unable to get out from the rear doors. It's just a theory.

The NTSB is famous for giving recommendations even if they are not directly related to an incident. I would expect them to cite the difficulty of getting out of the back seat of a locked Model S - with absent battery power or child locks engaged. Even if it's not at all proven that the driver couldn't open the doors. It remains a risk for each subsequent incident.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: AlanSubie4Life

rxlawdude

Active Member
Jul 10, 2015
3,276
2,769
Orange County, CA
Still terrible for the families, regardless of the cause (though yes, in some cases I'm less sympathetic than others). We will probably never know, but my guess is this was a case of hitting accelerator when the driver though he was hitting the brake.
I agree that stupid actions leading to death have predictable consequences. And remember that it was reported the driver's wife watched them get into to car and didn't think to say something about being drunk as a skunk.
 

mhan00

Active Member
Oct 13, 2014
1,402
1,956
Southern California
So why crawl to the back seat, assuming that's what he did? To get out, get help, escape the blocked front doors, escape the fire, get a cellphone. Whatever, if he made it that far he was mobile and very motivated to be able get that far from the front seat despite his age, the difficulty of the maneuver and the magnitude of his injuries. My contention is he crawled to the back in a panic and was unable to get out from the rear doors. It's just a theory.
Did he crawl, or was he bounced back there? In high impact collisions, bodies don’t necessarily stay where they were initially situated. We still don’t know enough to speculate. Seat belts generally keep you from impacting with the steering wheel, so I’m wondering if he did what my mom was fond of doing back when seat belt alerts first started coming into vogue, leaving The seatbelt buckled in all the time while she just sat on top of it so the car would stop nagging her. I eventually convinced her to stop doing it, but I know of a couple of people who still do that crap, even though it’s just stupid.
 

Products we're discussing on TMC...

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top