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Father of Driver In Violent Tesla Crash Blames Sedan's 'Rocket-Ship' Acceleration (autoweek.com) 641

"A Tesla crash that resulted in the deaths of the driver and a passenger in Indianapolis last November is drawing new controversy after the father of one of the victims made comments regarding the role of the Model S in the incident," Autoweek reports. "The crash occurred in downtown Indianapolis on Nov. 3, 2016, with the Model S driven by 27-year-old Casey Speckman striking a tree and catching fire. Speckman was pronounced dead at the scene while her passenger, 44-year-old Kevin McCarthy, succumbed to his injuries after being taken to the hospital." From the report: A report released last week by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department disclosed that Speckman had a blood-alcohol level of 0.21, almost three times the legal limit in the state of Indiana, The Indianapolis Star reports. Another new detail has emerged since the violent crash was first reported: The Tesla could have been been trying to maneuver around a vehicle traveling on the wrong side of the street, suggested by closed-circuit footage obtained by the attorney of the driver's father, Jon Speckman. The coroner's report cited blunt-force injuries caused by the crash as the causes of death for both victims, noting the vehicle's fire as a contributing factor, according to The Indianapolis Star. Jon Speckman recently made comments to the newspaper blaming the acceleration of the Tesla Model S. "Had she been in another vehicle, she would have been alive for me to yell at her for driving after drinking," Speckman told The Indianapolis Star in an interview at his attorney's office. "This is a vehicle that travels from 0 to 60 in 3.1 seconds," Speckman also said during the interview. "She's clearly having to swerve to miss a vehicle going the wrong way on a one-way street. If her foot should happen to hit the accelerator, it's like a rocket ship. I don't know why they have to make a car that does that."
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Father of Driver In Violent Tesla Crash Blames Sedan's 'Rocket-Ship' Acceleration

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  • Uber? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @08:04AM (#53864527)
    I don't think the Tesla forced her to drive.
    • Re:Uber? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Big Hairy Ian ( 1155547 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @08:30AM (#53864709)
      She was 3 times over the limit and the fuckwit father is blaming the car? Why is this even on SlashDot
      • Re:Uber? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @10:51AM (#53865903)

        He even keeps repeating the same "0 - 60 in 3.1 seconds" over and over. If anyone bothers to Google it, that is only possible in Ludacris or Insane mode which isn't even available on all cars. You need to purchase it, install it, and enable it to get that close. Otherwise, it is no different than any other high end sports car.

        It is sad, but drunk people die in car crashes. Don't drink and die. Its not more complicated than that.

    • "Speckman had a blood-alcohol level of 0.21"

      hmm.. I don't think it was the acceleration that did it.

  • Dont Buy It (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @08:04AM (#53864533)

    If you dont want a car that accelerates quickly dont buy a car that accelerates quickly.

  • Father of the year (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @08:05AM (#53864535)

    Alternative headline: father explains parenting strategy for raising irresponsible children.

    "The key is to blame others," he said.

  • Reverse logic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @08:05AM (#53864537) Homepage

    "Had she been in another vehicle, she would have been alive for me to yell at her for driving after drinking"

    LMFTFY

    "Had she been drinking under the legal limit, she would have been alive AND still had her vehicle"

    Count your blessings your daughter only murdered one passenger, and not more innocent bystanders.

  • Alcohol (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @08:05AM (#53864539)

    Yup, the cause was a drunk driver not how fast the car accelerated. Could of done the same thing in any car.

  • Idiot (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gojira Shipi-Taro ( 465802 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @08:05AM (#53864543) Homepage

    "This is a vehicle that travels from 0 to 60 in 3.1 seconds," Speckman also said during the interview. "She's clearly having to swerve to miss a vehicle going the wrong way on a one-way street. If her foot should happen to hit the accelerator, it's like a rocket ship. I don't know why they have to make a car that does that."

    Because some people WANT a car that does that. There's no reason you had to buy it though. Entirely your fault. Blame yourself. Every single day of the rest of your life blame yourself.

    • Re:Idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jeremyp ( 130771 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @08:30AM (#53864711) Homepage Journal

      Maybe her foot wouldn't have hit the accelerator if she wasn't drunk.

    • Re:Idiot (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hipp5 ( 1635263 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @08:30AM (#53864713)

      Blame yourself. Every single day of the rest of your life blame yourself.

      Or blame your daughter for drunk driving. Or even better, don't bother (she's dead). Just grieve, accept that shit happens, and accept that throwing blame around doesn't really fix anything in this case.

    • Re:Idiot (Score:4, Insightful)

      by esposed ( 1327243 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @08:44AM (#53864821)
      Woah. I felt like this was way passed the line. Blaming a grieving father for words that come from a place we can only hope we will never understand is pretty lame. There's few things in life you get a pass on, but the death of a child is certainly one of those things. Relax.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by phayes ( 202222 )

        No. A "grieving father" doesn't get a free pass to blame others for his daughter's (and his own) responsibilities in the accident.
        - Drinking 3 times over the limit and then _driving_.
        - Purchasing a vehicle that is beyond your capacity to handle (at least while drunk).

        Who exactly was it that _didn't_ sufficiently ingrain into his daughter that drinking and driving is lethal?

        • Re:Idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

          by dwillden ( 521345 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @09:22AM (#53865129) Homepage
          Agreed, and is he suing the bar that served the drinks? Or perhaps the drink manufacturers themselves. After all if they hadn't made and sold the booze, she wouldn't have drank so much that she couldn't react safely to the wrong-way driver.
    • by mellon ( 7048 )

      The thing about this is that I've driven a Tesla, and it's true that if you really put the pedal to the medal, it accelerates like fuck, but it would be really hard to do it accidentally—if you just put your foot on it normally, it doesn't take off on you. Bottom line, this is why we need self-driving cars. It's an absolute tragedy that we rely on human reflexes to avoid accidents.

    • Because some people WANT a car that does that. There's no reason you had to buy it though. Entirely your fault. Blame yourself. Every single day of the rest of your life blame yourself.

      She didn't buy it. It was her boss' car. [indystar.com] She had no business driving it while drunk, probably for the first time. Her boss possibly said "I'm too drunk to drive" and she said "I'm not" but she was — indeed, her BAC was higher than his.

      Let's see what else I can leave in this comment while I'm here... the debris field is large enough to show that the car was moving quite quickly, if not very quickly. Autopilot is not meant to be used in these conditions, so if it was turned on, then that's just more evi

  • I haven't clocked a SpaceX Falcon9 or similar, but I can't imagine the 0-60 being all that fast.

    A better comparison would be a motorcycle.

  • I get the guy is grieving because he lost his kids, but that is some of the dumbest things I've ever heard. For the price of that tesla, he could be driving a porsche, or any other sports, or luxury car which would have a similar speed. It might not be 0-60 in 3.1, but when your drunk it doesn't really matter if its 3.1 or even 5 seconds because at .21 BAC the driver was wasted. I can't say that I haven't done the same thing when I was in that state, but it really is like playing russian roulette.
  • "She's clearly having to swerve to miss a vehicle going the wrong way on a one-way street.

    She's clearly drunk and driving out of control when she's hitting the tree and scattering the car over a 150 yard long debris field. It remains to be seen if there was another car on the street at the time.

  • Sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @08:15AM (#53864595) Homepage

    They're over the limit?

    Sorry, whatever the ultimate cause of the accident, they were unfit to drive, thus pontificating over what they "would have" done in another is absolutely pointless. This driver got into a car and drove off when there was even a RISK of being near or over the limit and never questioned it.

    They are, therefore, a BAD DRIVER. The cause of their death - whether that's a guy on the wrong side of the road, unintended acceleration, a fire, etc. is incidental to their decision to drive. That's why we make brakes and steering wheels and train people to pass a test to ensure they're fit to drive, so you can avoid obstacles, stop the car, press the right pedal and not lose control if you're being a driver of even satisfactory driving skill.

    Yeah, it's sad. Yeah that kind of acceleration is unnecessary. Yeah, maybe there was a guy on your side of the road - it happens, there are idiots everywhere and people use the other side for overtaking, manoeuvres, etc. all the time. But the driver drove a car without knowing its capabilities, or feeling discomfort at it themselves enough to NOT drive it, or without taking "due care" (a phrase that will come up a lot) to ensure they didn't accelerate unintentionally no matter the situation. And they chose to do so while their judgement was impaired beyond legal limits.

    Contributing factors are the least of your problems, compared to telling your OTHER sons and daughters, and their friends and family to NEVER DRIVE DRUNK if they don't want to kill themselves and others.

    That you have to state that to an adult is really a sad state of affairs.

    If it had been on a Harley (there are electric Harley's now too!), and they'd done the same, would you be calling for motorbikes to be outlawed where you weren't saying that before? The device is not the problem - someone pressing the throttle when they mean the brake is never going to end well, even for a fraction of a second. The problem is that you have allowed yourself to bring up your children to think that drink-driving is fine and acceptable, even if you know it's illegal, and then blame others when your KILLER of a child takes someone else out too by driving drunk.

    Fuck, I don't even let work colleagues do that. I have literally removed people's keys and they've started fights with me over doing so. If your own child did it, fix that problem before you look at ANYTHING else.

  • Sorry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @08:16AM (#53864597) Journal

    ...as much as I'd like to strongly disagree with him, I'm simply not going to go after something a parent says after losing a child. No matter how dumb or self-destructive the child was, etc.

    That person is grasping at whatever straws they can to maintain their sanity. They're out of bounds.

    Now, I would take to task the editor(s) of the Indianapolis Star for printing that shit. At a certain point, morally, one would have to say "You know, maybe that doesn't need to be in our article."

    • Re:Sorry (Score:5, Insightful)

      by haruchai ( 17472 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @08:36AM (#53864751)

      ...as much as I'd like to strongly disagree with him, I'm simply not going to go after something a parent says after losing a child. No matter how dumb or self-destructive the child was, etc.

      That person is grasping at whatever straws they can to maintain their sanity. They're out of bounds.

      Now, I would take to task the editor(s) of the Indianapolis Star for printing that shit. At a certain point, morally, one would have to say "You know, maybe that doesn't need to be in our article."

      While I wouldn't cut him any slack for such a stupid statement, I don't hold it again anyone who would.
      But if he files a lawsuit against Tesla because of this, then both he & his lawyer are a$$holes$

      • Re:Sorry (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Strudelkugel ( 594414 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @12:59PM (#53866981)
        What's truly disgusting about this tragic situation is the the attorney. A good attorney would let the client know that given the circumstances, odds of winning in court are minimal and the pain of going through the pretrial procedures will be painful. Tesla might settle to make the case go away, but the client will still have to go through discovery and depositions. A settlement wont bring the people back, and it won't be that The defense will be all over the daughter's "lifestyle choices", the relationship with her boss, etc. The family of her boss will be forced to endure the same interrogation. The client's attorney doesn't care - He just sees easy money, no matter how much pain it causes everyone including his client. This is the kind of case that gives attorneys a very bad reputation.
    • ...as much as I'd like to strongly disagree with him, I'm simply not going to go after something a parent says after losing a child. No matter how dumb or self-destructive the child was, etc.

      Fair enough. I will do it. His daughter was driving drunk and by doing so endangered the lives and property of others. It's tragic that anyone lost their life but the reality is that his daughter was apparently 100% at fault here. Tesla did not cause her to crash or to operate a vehicle in an irresponsible fashion. I don't care how distraught he is, that doesn't give him a free pass to put the blame where it doesn't belong. He's lashing out and hurting still more people who had nothing to do with his

      • Even if the daughter isn't to blame, the owner of the car - her boss - who was also killed, gave her the keys (or whatever you use to operate the Tesla). The daughter might be an adult but still relatively young whreas the boss was 44, old enough to have obtained a Tesla as a personal/company vehicle, yet he stupid enough to get drunk and allow another drunk to drive him home/wherever.

        To allow any lawsuit to gain any traction would be the thin end of the wedge. People shoot themselves all the time when

        • Even if the daughter isn't to blame, the owner of the car - her boss - who was also killed, gave her the keys (or whatever you use to operate the Tesla).

          The driver is to blame. Whoever gave her the keys does not mitigate that meaningfully. It's really simple. Don't drive a high powered car unless A) you are competent to handle that vehicle when sober and B) are actually sober.

          The daughter might be an adult but still relatively young whreas the boss was 44, old enough to have obtained a Tesla as a personal/company vehicle, yet he stupid enough to get drunk and allow another drunk to drive him home/wherever.

          27 is more than old enough to know better than to drive drunk. That is not young and certainly not young enough to excuse such a lapse of judgement.

    • Now, I would take to task the editor(s) of the Indianapolis Star for printing that shit. At a certain point, morally, one would have to say "You know, maybe that doesn't need to be in our article."

      Clearly, that's not how click-baiting works.

      Revenue is king. An editor who says stuff like that would just get himself fired.

    • Re:Sorry (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mysticgoat ( 582871 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @09:31AM (#53865199) Homepage Journal

      If in fact this was a father's grieving rant, then I agree with your sentiment. Give him space.

      Unfortunately there are features in this story that suggest that this might be the beginning of a wrongful death suit against Tesla. The mention of a lawyer being involved, and therefore presumably advising the "distraught" father about what to say in public. How big a settlement might be squeezed from Tesla? If you are going for a fat settlement, then you don't need a winning case, you don't have to be able to prove anything. You just need to demonstrate that you can be a massive pain in the butt until you are paid off. Will we next be hearing comparisons between Tesla's acceleration pedal and the Ford Pinto's gas tank?

      People who are truly grieving usually don't make such a public spectacle of it.

    • ...as much as I'd like to strongly disagree with him, I'm simply not going to go after something a parent says after losing a child.

      You mean, after raising a child that drove drunk and could have killed a whole bunch of people because of her shitty upbringing? You'd rather give him a free pass so that he goes out and does more shit things? If he doesn't want to be told that he killed his daughter by raising her wrong, he should shut the fuck up. Right now, the rest of us are just glad we weren't in the way when she floored the accelerator pedal.

      That person is grasping at whatever straws they can to maintain their sanity. They're out of bounds.

      They're a piece of shit, and they weren't sane to begin with. That's why they can blame thei

  • by hlavac ( 914630 )
    Blame the guy that planted the tree! It is indisputable that had he not put that tree there she would be alive! And beer! Beer companies have a lot of money too! Sue beer company for killing her! Idiot.
  • It's really easy to shift blame away from your loved ones, and onto a faceless corporation while throwing your arms up in the air and shouting:

    "Please, won't someone think of the children!"

    The fact of the matter is: his daughter chose to drive drunk, and she crashed the [fast] car. Not only did she endanger herself, but her passenger as well.
    The bottom line is: his daughter would still be alive had she driven sober [and this is a true fact if the car she was driving is fast or slow]

  • by msauve ( 701917 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @08:23AM (#53864651)
    "Had she been in another vehicle, she would have been alive for me to yell at her for driving after drinking,"

    This happened last November, and he's at the 3rd stage of grief. He's going to get depressed when people point out he's being an idiot in public.
  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @08:25AM (#53864665)
    I take it he's campaigning for the reinstatement of the red flag law [wikipedia.org]. Seriously how fast does he think cars should be allowed to travel of accelerate? If all were limited to 20mph then almost all accidents would be survivable (though daresay you'd get some drunk idiots driving into rivers or off cliffs even at that speed).
  • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @08:26AM (#53864669)

    "...A report released last week by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department disclosed that Speckman had a blood-alcohol level of 0.21, almost three times the legal limit "

    As a parent, I cannot imagine the grief this father is dealing with right now, but I certainly I hope this lapse of common sense in a desperate attempt to blame the car is temporary, given this report released by Captain Obvious.

    Unfortunately, the cars performance is not the main factor that caused a loss of life. One must not only be sober, but capable of handling a car that can deliver Fast and Furious performance. While I don't agree with this stupid and pointless race to ludicrous speed in the EV market right now, if you can't handle a car, then don't drive the fucking thing, no matter what technology is powering it.

    • >"As a parent, I cannot imagine the grief this father is dealing with right now, but I certainly I hope this lapse of common sense in a desperate attempt to blame the car is temporary, given this report released by Captain Obvious."

      Yet we see it ALL THE TIME. Child shot- it is the gun's fault, guns should be banned. Lung cancer- it is the cigarette's fault, cigarettes should be banned. Child killed in a fast car- it is the car's fault, fast cars should be banned. It isn't much of a leap. I call it t

  • by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @08:36AM (#53864747)

    "Had she been in another vehicle, she would have been alive for me to yell at her for driving after drinking," Speckman told The Indianapolis Star in an interview at his attorney's office. "This is a vehicle that travels from 0 to 60 in 3.1 seconds"

    It is of course totally evil how Tesla forces wealthy 27-year-olds to buy massively overpowered cars for $100000, then forces them to get completely drunk, and then forces them to get behind the wheel and endanger other drivers! The humanity! There ought to be a law to protect the people from such evil corporations! /sarc

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @08:37AM (#53864759) Journal
    Standard operating procedure for the ambulance chasers. Sling as much mud as possible, watch to see what sticks, and then pile on to use that kind of mud in the trial. I am sure they are trying to find what would make Tesla settle out of court. Then the avalanche will start.

    The way the courts work, if there are N causes for an accident, all N causes are liable for full 100% of the damages. This is a necessary consequence of allowing limited liability corporations. If we assign liability proportionally, immediately all corporations will spawn child corporations that will all act as one way valve. Profits flow upstream and liability stops with them. So they will not have the assets to pay for the damages they cause. It is already happening to some extent, in taxes, income stream management, and a few other areas.

    But the way the system is gamed, no one seems to benefit, other than the trial lawyers.

  • by Bluefirebird ( 649667 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @08:46AM (#53864829)

    The Tesla Model S is one of the safest cars on the road.

    However, it has the performance of a Ferrari. People are aware of this since it is one the key selling points.

    Maybe the car could have a spare key for limited performance settings, if you are going to loan the car to someone else or to a valet parking attendant.

    In any case, drinking and driving is inexcusable.

  • No, 1000 times no (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mpercy ( 1085347 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @09:23AM (#53865137)

    I feel bad for the father, but blaming the car his daughter was driving at 0.21 BAC is a non-starter. I don't care if it was a Pinto and she was going 80MPH in reverse when she hit the tree causing it to burst into flames.

    It's not even clear that she'd be alive in a different car leaving him to "yell at her". Thankfully, the only person she murdered was someone stupid enough to get in the car with her.

    If this progresses to a lawsuit against Tesla (which is not a company I have a lot of positive feelings for), it'll be another example of why we can't have anything nice. Stupid people seem intent on making the rest of society pay for their stupidity and we keep letting them, instead of letting them suffer the sometimes fatal consequences on their own.

  • by Dishevel ( 1105119 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @10:04AM (#53865503)
    This is a bad parent. A person that should never have had a child.

    He, "raised" a child that, "Grew Up" to be a person that gets drunk and endangers the lives of everyone around because she wants to have a good time.
    Her attitude that her wants trump everything else on the face of the planet, including the lives of other matches perfectly with a father
    that put no responsibility on his daughter. He never has. In his eyes, she has never been responsible for any issue in her life. This is why
    she grew up to be such and insufferable cunt.

    Now that, "father" unable to put blame on the daughter or his own failure to raise a decent human being must look outside to find a reason
    this happened. Now we look to the biggest pockets around and blame them.

    I do not really like Tesla. I think that people that can not afford that car paying to give people that can tax breaks to make the car cheaper for the rich is fucking insane at best. They though are not at fault here. This was caused by an irresponsible cunt, raised by an incompetent parent.
  • by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @02:41PM (#53867887)
    People who drive drunk lose the ability to coordinate and she apparently could not use proper judgment in her use of the accelerator pedal. It may not have mattered a bit what vehicle she was in. A bicycle or a motor scooter with very slow acceleration can kill a drunk as easily as a Tesla. I am sorry for the father's grief but Tesla should sue him for this nonsense.

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