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LAPD: Stolen Tesla Involved in Police Pursuit Crashes Into Cars, Splits in Half in WeHo; 7 Injured

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A stolen Tesla involved in a fiery crash split into two following a pursuit that ended in West Hollywood early Friday, leaving seven people injured, police said.

A Tesla was involved in a bad crash in West Hollywood that left multiple people injured. (Credit: KTLA)

A Tesla was involved in a bad crash in West Hollywood that left multiple people injured. (Credit: KTLA)

The incident began when police received a call from a Tesla dealership stating that an individual was “tampering or messing with" one of the vehicles, according to Sgt. Campbell with the Los Angeles Police Department's Pacific Division.

Officers responded to the dealership and a pursuit began at about 12:45 a.m., Campbell said.

During the pursuit, the Tesla reached speeds of up to 100 mph, according to Campbell.

The pursuit ended on La Brea Avenue between Fountain and Lexington avenues a short time later when the driver of the Tesla hit two other cars and a lamp post, Campbell said.

A witness told KTLA that the Tesla hit the pole and split in half, and that part of the vehicle landed on top of a white car.

"There were fires after that that broke out," Eric Martinez said. "I saw the firefighters -- like 25 firefighters – standing around the white car with the Jaws of Life.”

Martinez added that at one point, explosions could be heard.

"We originally thought it was fireworks. Everybody thought it was fireworks that were just exploding," he said.

A Tesla hit a light pole, split in two and hit multiple cars before catching fire on July 4, 2014. (Credit: RMG News)

A Tesla hit a light pole, split in two and hit multiple cars before catching fire on July 4, 2014. (Credit: RMG News)

Video from the scene showed the Tesla cut in half, and a portion of the vehicle appeared to have crashed into a building at the corner of the street. The other half of the vehicle remained in the roadway and caught fire.

In total, the Tesla collided with four vehicles, injuring a total of 6 victims, before splitting in two, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

One of the cars, a Honda Civic, had five people inside when the Tesla slammed into it. At least one person in the car was critically injured, according to Campbell.

Five of the victims were taken to a local hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

The man driving the Tesla -- who was ejected from the vehicle -- was originally thought to have died, but he was resuscitated while en route to a hospital, according to a Sheriff's Department news release.

Two LAPD officers were injured during the pursuit when their vehicle hit the center divider, according to LAPD Officer Bruce Borihanh.

The officers complained of pain and were taken to a local hospital, Borihanh said, adding that they were later released and did not sustain injuries.

La Brea was shut down in both directions in the area for hours as authorities investigated the crash.

KTLA's Alberto Mendez and Ashley Soley-Cerro contributed to this report.

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  • LiveInStudio

    Those Tesla’s are HEAVY because of all the batteries… so they are equivalent to SUVs or more… a clear indication of the safety of those cars… jeepers…

    • mrdoubleb

      – Model S: 4,647 lbs
      – Audi RS7: 4,475 lbs
      – BMW M5: 4,387 lbs
      – Maserati Quattroporte: 4,389 lbs
      – MB CLS 550: 4,255 lbs
      – F-150, the most popular vehicle in the US, is 4,685 lbs
      Jeez, that Ford F-150 must have lots of lithium batteries in it.

      • Steve EV

        All cars are easy to steal when one has the key. Idiots can drive any car. Gasoline is a much more effective incendiary device than a battery. Electric vehicles alone can further reduce their emissions as the electric grid increases use of renewable power sources. New companies and new vehicle models become profitable as development costs are amortized.

        This seems like common sense.

    • Jeff H.

      When you drive like a complete maniac, it doesn’t matter what the car is make of. Look at what happened to actor Paul Walker from the “Need for Speed” movies. He was in a traditional car.

      • Tali

        You are the idiot.

        The Tesla is an electric car connected to the internet via LTE. It is how it receives updates. It can also be shut down remotely.

        • ziggythehamster

          The dealer would have to do it. Which they probably would have done if they got called and told that someone stole their car.

          • Mykal

            The car was stolen FROM THEW DEALERSHIP! So yeah I am pretty sure they didnt need to be called to be informed of the situation. XD

          • Mark Hensley

            Mykal, the car was stolen around midnight. I doubt there was anybody ACTUALLY at the dealership.

          • Crunchem

            …but, but the article says the call came ‘from the dealership”, so it’s easy to conclude that the call was from an employee or manager. Shouldn’t’ a Tesla lot with millions of dollars worth of cars have a security guard 24/7 anyway?

          • Judge Gary J Dean

            I’m a little late with this comment, BUT, I agree, no one was probably at the dealership. It was most likely their security service which was alerted to watch by video because of electronically sensed “movement” in the area!

    • RudyG.

      It does seem like a big mistake to have not remotely shutdown the Telsa. But, Is the vehicle designed to come apart in a collision?

      • danwat1234

        I know a Lamborghini Aventador is supposed to break in half in some situations but I doubt the Model S is. The people in the rear seats would be in a bad place.

  • wjfinatl

    Look at the car! Split in half! Driver had “serious injuries”. Any other car and the driver would have had serious instant death. Safest car on Earth, even for criminal car thieves.

    • Mark Hensley

      Exactly. Remember the two recent high profile high speed car crashes. One a journalist in a mercedes, the other a movie star in a Porsche. All dead.
      This is a testament to the safety of the Tesla.

  • Keef Wivanef

    Teslas are easy to steal.
    Teslas are often driven by Idiots.
    Lithium batteries are INCENDIARY BOMBS that emit toxic fumes for good measure.
    Tesla is NOT green.
    Company has always lost money, Eloon Musk has always made a profit (for himself)
    Tesla……just say…NOooooooo!

  • mark

    Whats tha race of the car theif?…..had he been white, they woulda said so…….so ya know he wasn’t white……f*****g PC media is a joke & 99% of the criminals round here are NOT white!

  • BillT

    On the contrary, he doesn’t get to cause mayhem & then just check out. He will have to LIVE with the consequences of his actions. The dead have no regrets.

    • Steve

      The police did disengage. The thief continued another seven miles at 100 mph after they called off the chase. The wreck was not a result of the pursuit. He lost control. It’s all outlined in the video.

  • Mike Land

    Operation Blue Star USA. A powerful citizen based network of stored energy that can be rapidly placed online for proton particle beams, offensive lasers, and neutron weapons.

  • keefwivanef

    Stolen Tesla driver has the perfect defense!
    “Sure, I did steal the car but the accident was caused by “UNINTENDED ACCELERATION”
    (there have been many reports of unintended acceleration and of defective brakes in Tesla Model S)
    Sure the accelerator pedal was flat to the floor, I must have hit it by accident when the brake pedal went right down to the floor pan”
    Unfortunately we can’t check the Terdsla to see if there was a fault with the brakes because the car flew to pieces.
    (The car was in for service, wonder what the problem was?)

    Why don’t we give the joyrider the benefit of the doubt and the presumption of innocence?
    We do that for Eloon all the time.

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