Tesla Model X Crash Ends In Fatal Accident For Mountain View Driver

As with most tragic accidents, we are left with more questions than answers.

byShari Gab|
Self-Driving Tech photo

On infamous Highway 101 in Mountain View, California, the driver of a Tesla Model X has died after his E-SUV collided with the median barrier and was struck by two additional vehicles—a Mazda and then an Audi. But before we fall down the Tesla safety rabbit hole, let’s just remember the age-old saying, “The only error is human error.”

Autonomous critics, Tesla skeptics and, admittedly, the media-at-large are quick to scrutinize (see also: blame) self-driving tech and futurist ambition for any unfortunate incident involving Tesla. But when a life is lost, this humble editor would advise that we just deal with the facts at hand. So, let’s first simply turn all the available cards up on the table to see whether we should hit or fold before we make any judgments, shall we? 

What we know is the crash annihilated the front half of the Tesla and initiated a fire involving the battery. An on-site witness reported seeing a fireball at the time of the collision, according to NBC Bay Area. "We saw a big cloud of smoke and then all of a sudden, there was a fireball in the air," said witness Aiden Sanchez said. 

"I saw past the smoke of the smoldering and sputtering Tesla Model X and saw a man running up with a fire extinguisher," one anonymous Good Samaritan told NBC. "I rounded towards what used to be the front of the car and saw, remarkably, an intact man that was covered in a light layer of dust. The front of the car was simply gone." 

Tesla has engaged an employee to the scene to investigate the matter further. 

At the moment, there is no concrete word on whether Autopilot was engaged or involved. Although, according to Engadget, the California Highway Patrol believes that the battery may have played a role in the accident.  

EV tech is clearly still developing. As told by The Drive’s own Rob Stumpf, “Lithium-ion batteries are a fairly stable way to store energy and are utilized in everyday applications around the world, from cell phones to cars. However, when a Lithium-Ion battery becomes compromised, all hell can break loose.”

Still, for anyone who is not familiar with this particular stretch of highway, the median is about a foot wide piece of concrete. For any vehicle traveling at high speeds on a windy stretch, the Tesla Model X weighing in at a hefty 5,500 pounds or otherwise, one distracted moment can be fatal.