Last week Joshua Michael Flot, 26, of Inglewood, Calif. was declared dead after being ejected in West Hollywood through the windshied of a Model S he stole July 4.
The car was taken from Tesla’s service center in west Los Angeles, and Flot led police on a chase that ended with a police car crashing out, and the stolen car injuring others as it smashed in half.
Five people in a 2012 Honda Civic were among those injured by the failed theft attempt, and Ruben Hakabyan, 27, was one who was knocked unconscious when the front half of the Model S smashed the Civic’s roof.
“I didn’t hear anything before it happened — no sirens, no nothing,” Hakobyan said, who remained unconsciousness until the firemen pulled him from his car.
Hakobyan told Bloomberg he saw the pole hit by the Tesla had fallen, the back half of the Model S was wedged in a building and the front portion that had hit his vehicle was burning.
“It was going like fireworks,” said Hakobyan, who was treated at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Beverly Hills after the accident.
The media is talking about the fire. No great cause for concern for the relative flammability question is being raised, but this issue we’ve covered before is being talked about.
In defense, or to balance the degree of risk, the refrain of how often gasoline cars catch fire is a ready response, along with the fact that li-ion is not nearly as combustible, nor does it contain the explosive energy of gasoline.
The statistical record remains better for still relatively new EVs versus petrol burners.
As observed, lithium-ion battery pack pieces did ignite in the crash, but this happened after an especially horrific crash that ripped the Model S in half after a high-speed chase.
This being the first death of a driver of a Model S, and a violent dramatic one at that, it has aroused more attention than an ordinatry traffic fatality.
The accident was actually the first of two Model S crashes July 4 in Southern California. The other resulted in the death of three occupants in a 2004 Toyota Corolla which was smashed from behind by a Model S.
Online commenters about the West Hollywood crash have varied in their sentiment, but a strain can be found from those with no remorse. Some have nominated Flot for “the Darwin award,” among other comments.
One person said with black sarcasm this is a serious matter, because “a Tesla has died,” and before the man was declared dead, we saw a comment essentially wishing for his death.
Others no doubt have less grim things to say, including sympathy and noting a tragedy and loss of life over a theft ending in a worse-case scenario.
For its part, Tesla issued a statement.
“We are saddened by the harm that resulted from the July 4 theft and crash,” said Tesla spokesman Simon Sproule. “We are assisting the authorities as needed as they continue their investigations.”