Two People Killed In Explosive Tesla Crash
Model S crashed, exploded, then caught fireby Kirby Garlitos, on
Casey Speckman, a 27-year old woman and her 44-year old co-worker Kevin McCarthy lost their lives in a crash involving a Tesla Model S in Indianapolis, Indiana. Details on what caused the deadly crash are still being investigated but the two were reportedly killed after Speckman lost control of the car before smashing into a tree and then into a parking garage, causing multiple explosions that led to the Model S catching fire.
According to local news outlet WishTV, witness accounts described the scene as horrific with one particular witness saying that a big explosion happened after the crash, which lead to several small explosions that ended up with debris just “popping up in the air.” Firefighters from the Indianapolis Fire Department also said that debris field stretched 150 yards, including lithium batteries that were still scattered around the area the morning after the crash.
Despite their best efforts in containing the fire and saving the lives of Speckman and her passenger, McCarthy, firefighters from the IFD took 10 minutes to put the fire out and 20 minutes just to get McCarthy out. The delay was largely attributed to the sophistication of cars like the Model S, which Tesla admits in its manual for first responders as a car that should be considered “energized” until the fire has been completely extinguished.
To make things more complicated, Kevin Jones, the Battalion Chief of Special Operations for the IDF, admitted the complication of extinguishing the fire on a Tesla.
“With the high voltage batteries they’re lithium ion batteries and they require copious amounts of water to extinguish them, they burn very hot," Jones said. "Back in the 1980s, the vehicles you could come up there and cut pretty much everywhere and not have a hazard. But now with the introduction of airbags and the seat belt retention and the high voltage lines we have to peel and peak and look and make sure we’re not going to cut into something that will cause a hazard for us or the victims.”
Speckman was killed in the crash while McCarthy died at the hospital.
Thoughts and prayers to those who lost their loved ones
There’s nothing here that amounts to anything resembling good news. It’s important to be careful about making any conclusions on what caused the crash that killed Casey Speckman and Kevin McCarthy. Investigators have yet to reveal the cause of the crash so I’m not going to touch that until there’s some clarity to it.
It is extremely saddening to see two people lose their lives because of this. Speckman, in particular, was engaged to be married in September 2017 to her fiance, Brandon Seniff. The two dated for nine years before Seniff proposed to Speckman in Key West, Florida, the same place where they’re supposed to get married. It’s hard to even come to grips with what Seniff is going through, let alone the families and friends of both Speckman and McCarthy. At the very least, all we can do at this point is offer our sincerest condolences to the people affected by the death of Casey Speckman and Kevin McCarthy.
On another note, the crash also puts the spotlight on the complicated nature of dealing with accidents of this nature on electric cars like the Tesla Model S. Again, I’m not going to jump to any conclusions, but the Indianapolis Fire Department’s admission that they couldn’t do anything until putting the fire out – a process that takes longer because of the nature of those lithium batteries – is an issue that needs to be addressed. I’d like to think that automakers are wary of this kind of situation and are trying to do something to at least make it quicker for firefighters to extinguish fire on these cars. I don’t know if it could have saved Speckman because she reportedly died from the crash, but it could have saved McCarthy, who had to sit and wait for more than 20 minutes before he was taken out of the wreck. At the very least, that’s something worth looking into.
Read our full review on the 2017 Tesla Model S here.