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Transportation Technology

The First Person Ever To Die In a Tesla Is a Guy Who Stole One 443

mrspoonsi sends this news from The Verge: Elon Musk can no longer say that no one's ever died in a Tesla automobile crash. But few people will be pointing fingers at the electric car maker for this senseless tragedy. Earlier this month, 26-year-old Joshua Slot managed to successfully ride off with a Model S he'd stolen from a Tesla service center in Los Angeles, but police quickly spotted the luxury vehicle and gave chase. According to Park Labrea News, the high-speed pursuit was eventually called off after officers were involved in a fender bender of their own, leaving the police department strained for resources and without any feasible way of catching up to Slot. Reports claim he was traveling at speeds of "nearly 100 mph," but losing the police tail apparently didn't convince Slot to hit the brakes. Instead he sped on, eventually colliding with three other vehicles and a pair of street poles. The final impact was severe enough to "split the Tesla in half" and eject Slot from the car's remains. The Tesla's front section wound up in the middle of the road and caught fire. Its rear portion flew through the air with such force that it slammed into the side of a local Jewish community center and became wedged there.
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The First Person Ever To Die In a Tesla Is a Guy Who Stole One

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  • by Megahard ( 1053072 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @03:19PM (#47433389)

    So, assuming he wasn't already dead, technically he didn't die in the Tesla.

  • by Koyaanisqatsi ( 581196 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @03:25PM (#47433469)

    So, in who's interest is it that the police perform these "for show" stunts?

    Wouldn't it be much better to deploy a helicopter, drone or other means of tracking the car from a distance, and not risk killing several bystanders in a crash? This time only the bad guy died, but even him did not deserve capital punishment for a car jack ...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11, 2014 @03:37PM (#47433597)

    When the police called off the chase (for other reasons) and he kept going at 100+mph, there's no "punishment" involved, let alone capital punishment. This is a Darwin Award pure and simple, pure suicide-by-stupid.

    I do agree that police chases are a spectacle who's time has long-sinced passed, but you mention drones as a means of tracking them, and they're now "teh new evil" no matter what purpose they're put to by authorities, so until the country gets a little less schizophrenic I don't see that changing.

  • And that is a mechanism making it okay for innocent people to die because _______________?
  • by tipo159 ( 1151047 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @03:48PM (#47433709)

    Did you read article? The police had given up on the chase before the guy crashed the Tesla that the final time.

    According to the source, "the pursuit was terminated because there wasn’t enough time or police resources in the area to catch up with the vehicle." It didn't help that the pursuing officers were involved with a minor collision of their own.

  • by neminem ( 561346 ) <neminem AT gmail DOT com> on Friday July 11, 2014 @03:48PM (#47433711) Homepage

    You're saying Michael Bay's engineering team designs ways for cars to *not* catch on fire? I would think rather the exact opposite would be true.

  • by Sowelu ( 713889 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @03:56PM (#47433767)

    Cyclists ARE a menace, to themselves. I nearly killed one two years ago because he blew a stop sign coming down a hill, swerved in front of me, hooked his tires into a trolley track and fell over about 20' in front of my car. If I hadn't been driving below the speed limit he would have been street pizza.

    Biking in hilly, high density areas (like downtown Seattle) should require a license. One that can be revoked.

  • by jeffb (2.718) ( 1189693 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @03:57PM (#47433775)

    Having had the experience of having my own performance car stolen temporarily, and damaging it to the extent of needing a new engine and reupholstering, at the time I felt capital punishment is not enough.

    You may think this is a little severe, but people who are into cars feel they have had part of their soul ripped out of them if it is stolen and trashed, especially if it is their personal hobby and they are doing it at the limits of their budget.

    I understand that many people attach a lot of their self-image to their vehicles, and devote disproportionate time, attention, and money to them. That doesn't mean that their priorities should be encoded into law.

    Your hobby is not more important to society in general than human life. Yes, it may be more important to you than some other person's life. Laws exist partly to mediate between people's conflicting self-interest.

  • You're not talking a huge difference in speed at that point...

    Are you aware that the kinetic energy is proportional to the SQUARE of the speed, right? There is a huge difference in safety - much bigger than between 40MPH and 70MPH.

  • Anyone who thinks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @04:13PM (#47433937) Homepage

    or tries to blame this on the Tesla car killing someone in a 100MPH accident and not the car thief's actions, is a straight up retard

    I have no illusions about Musk doing this to get richer but so far his shown that being a psychopath is not a requirement to being a CEO who might actually like to see the world change for better and move humanity forward.

  • Re: Jews? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11, 2014 @04:15PM (#47433961)

    To continue your deft analysis of current events, they'll call first and watch to make sure the civilians are out before surgically bombing the thief's house.

    Israel has killed over 100 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, in retaliation for three Israeli deaths. So cut the crap about their deep concern for human life.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11, 2014 @04:36PM (#47434119)

    Finally someone with some common sense! Cyclists should also be required to carry insurance to cover the damage they could do to other people, cars, and buildings that they will likely run into. I'm no actuary but I'm sure a monthly premium of $1 should be enough to cover that. /sarcam

    Cars are big, heavy, and hard to control. They have a lot of mass so therefore they have a lot of momentum. Momentum that is created via an internal combustion engine rated in terms of how many horses it is equivalent to. Bicycles are a lot lighter and carry a lot less momentum and are usually stopped quite easily when they hit something hard or fall over. Dial it down a little and stop getting pissed that driving is annoying and that you have to pay attention to any object that may pass in front of your car, even those that are not bicycle-shaped.

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @04:47PM (#47434191) Homepage

    Cyclists ARE a menace, to themselves.

    I recently saw a cyclist come from the sidewalk on my right, cross an intersection diagonally across me (between two left-turning lanes of north/south traffic), get back up onto the sidewalk, and then later get into the bike lane going the wrong way, at an alarming speed.

    As a motorist and a cyclist, I was completely stunned. It's cyclists like that why motorists hate cyclists.

    Nobody can avoid killing you if you don't even pretend to follow the rules of traffic. But many many drivers forget that they are required by law to not run over cyclists, even if they are inconvenient.

    I have seen more cyclists do ridiculous things than I could count. I give them a wide berth, but, I have to admit, some of them seem like they're trying to get killed.

    Likewise, a lot of drivers more or less don't give a damn and will practically run them over, or off the road, or door them. Sometimes buses don't even obey bike lanes.

    I won't ride a bicycle on city streets anymore.

  • by jandrese ( 485 ) <> on Friday July 11, 2014 @04:51PM (#47434205) Homepage Journal
    I think the real message here is that Tesla's stellar safety record is due at least in part to its exclusivity and high price tag. The kind of people who can afford it are generally safer drivers. It's not a used Dodge Charger that some 16 year old asshole with a shiny new drivers license and Dad's credit card can buy off of the lot for a few thousand bucks.
  • by suutar ( 1860506 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @05:24PM (#47434425)

    Unless I'm misreading it badly, he's not trying to justify the death penalty for carjacking; he's explaining why he wouldn't mourn for a carjacker. And I bet the typical just-robbed homeowner would agree.

  • I was unaware only criminals died during high speed car chases. I can't believe there's not a single shred of evidence on the entire internet ever showing that an innocent person died in a car crash during a police pursuit! Thank you for correcting my stupid beliefs!
  • by Anguirel ( 58085 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @08:18PM (#47435643)

    Likewise, a lot of drivers more or less don't give a damn and will practically run them over, or off the road, or door them.

    Or do give a damn and do those things on purpose. Or will throw things at them []. I've only had one or two cases in several years of daily commute cycling where I suspect a driver was maliciously trying to edge me off a road, but in some regions its apparently a frequent hazard, and if anyone brings it up, a lot of victim-blaming happens (e.g. cites story of a time they saw a crazy cyclist similar to yours, then claims the person being harassed by a motorist was probably doing something similarly bad, or attempts to charge the guy for inciting the incident in some fashion (see previous link)).

    I try to call out cyclists behaving badly, but I find it isn't all that common. When I'm out and about I notice a lot of cyclists behaving perfectly well -- it's just that the odd one or two that don't are the ones that stick out and you notice. The same is true of any vehicle operator -- it's just that people have gotten so used to seeing several dozen traffic violations every day (e.g. failing to signal, running red lights or stop signs, improper turns, failing to leave appropriate space, various parking offenses) without even touching speeding (which would bring it up to likely some 95% of the traffic on the road -- people failing to exceed the speed limit are more likely to be noticed and considered out of place than people speeding). That one cyclist being crazy (and I agree they exist -- I've seen some pretty egregious cycling behavior before) sticks out more since cyclists in general are more rare, but I suspect fewer cyclists in total behave badly with regard to traffic safety (probably because of the inherent additional danger to cycling).

  • by marciot ( 598356 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @12:19AM (#47436533)

    Loking at those pictures, while bad it was probably survivable if he had been wearing a seat belt. It was being ejected that killed him.

    It was the sudden stop after being ejected that killed him.

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