Tesla Crash

Report: In Fatal Crash, Door Handles Fail on Burning Tesla

Witnesses report that the door handles didn't work as the car burned.

2. 25. 19 by Victor Tangermann
Tesla/Tag Hartman-Simkins
Image by Tesla/Tag Hartman-Simkins

Fatal Collision

A man died after crashing a 2016 Tesla Model S into a tree in Miami, Florida yesterday afternoon, according to local news.

The car reportedly swerved through multiple lanes of traffic before hitting a median and some trees and bursting into flames — and the death may have been related to the electric carmaker’s iconic pop-out door handles malfunctioning after the wreck.

“Efforts to extract the driver were unsuccessful,” local police sergeant Mark Leone said in a statement Monday morning, as quoted by the Sun Sentinel.


Witness Reports

Electrek reports that witnesses say the door handles of the vehicle did not open and that the numerous airbags didn’t deflate.

“We were there,” Misty Lea Thomas, alleged witness of the accident, tweeted last night. “My husband tried to break the back window out. The airbags didn’t deflate after the crash and trapped the person inside.”

“We couldn’t even see inside the car because all of the bags filled the car,” she wrote. “The doors couldn’t be opened.”

According to the Associated Press, a local police officer also tried to break the car’s window, but couldn’t get the driver out.


“We are deeply saddened by this accident and our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragedy,” a Tesla spokesperson told Futurism. “We have reached out to the local authorities to offer our cooperation. We understand that speed is being investigated as a factor in this crash, and know that high speed collisions can result in a fire in any type of car, not just electric vehicles.”

High Speed Collision

Meanwhile, the car became increasingly engulfed in flames.

“We have a problem where the car keeps catching fire because the battery pack itself hasn’t drained yet,” Davie Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Robert Diferdinando told the Sun Sentinel.

“We’ve been in touch with their [Tesla’s] South Florida division,” he said, and the company is “giving us helpful tips and information. Right now, we’re doing literally what Tesla wants us to to.”


Editor’s note: This story has been updated with a comment from a Tesla spokesperson.

READ MORE: Tesla driver dies in burning car after crash, witness says door handles wouldn’t work [electrek]

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