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People Keep Copying That Viral Tesla Jump as Police Still Can’t Find the Driver

It's been about three weeks since the Model S soared over the LA intersection.
@trophyburro via Instagram

Look, we get it. You saw that viral video of a 2018 Tesla Model S jumping a ridiculously steep hill in Los Angeles—everyone did. It was stupid, it was dangerous, and it ended with someone having to raise money so they could replace their car that was crashed into. But it’s time to stop recreating it.

Ever since the video hit social media, it’s caused a whirlwind of confusion for onlookers, those involved, and the police. It’s been almost three weeks now and investigators are seemingly still trying to figure out who was actually behind the wheel. But just because they haven’t identified the driver yet doesn’t give anybody a free pass to repeat the dangerous stunt, though that’s what’s happening.

Another video surfaced recently on Instagram showing a different vehicle jumping the same hill. It depicts what looks to be a BMW X2 leaping over a line of fire lit across the center of the intersection and then landing hard, sparking as something from the undercarriage makes contact with the pavement. You can then see the rear of the vehicle bounce as it regains stability.

Thankfully, nobody seems to have gotten hurt or had their car crashed into, though we’re guessing the driver’s back was more than a little sore the day after.

Residents report that a dirt bike also jumped the hill the day after the most recent Tesla video went viral.

A detective from the Los Angeles Police Department Central Traffic Division told The Drive that the investigation remains ongoing. The social media influencer who originally took credit reneged his statements and as of Friday, the LAPD has yet to identify the driver of the rental Tesla, at least publicly.

The LAPD also declined to comment on the video of the BMW that jumped over the exact same hill, or if they were aware of any copycats. There’s no indication of whether or not additional traffic control will be used to stop drivers from performing this leap again, though the hill’s 32 percent grading makes it a tough spot to patrol.

And as it turns out, this crazy incline has been an under-addressed problem with records of stunt driving and transportation issues dating back over a century.

While some commenters on the video were seeking the location of the hill to repeat it, others reminisced about similar antics that have taken place there in the past. In 2020, internet personality David Dobrik even tweeted a video of a Model X performing the exact same jump for onlookers. It was noticed by Tesla CEO Elon Musk the same day.

Since Baxter Street hill is the 10th steepest road in the nation, at least one car company has used it for publicity. All the way back in 1916, Dodge loaded a vehicle with one ton of cement as well as a host of passengers weighing 750 pounds; then, to show how strong the car was, they drove it up the mighty climb. In what appears to be another PR stunt, Dodge is said to have filled a truck up with 4,300 pounds of hay bales to show off its hauling capabilities to reporters.

via The Huntington Library

In 2018, the City of Los Angeles converted the two-block stretch into opposing one-way lengths to avoid cars getting stuck during poor weather, causing congestion for nearby residents after Waze reportedly refused to remove the street as a shortcut in its app. It also didn’t drivers them from pulling stunts similar to the two Teslas mentioned above, which were filmed four years apart.

One would have to think there’d be a way to identify the most recent offender with all the video evidence. Surely there was some sort of record for the individual who paid for the rental, or recovered camera footage of the person exiting the driver’s seat? Either way, people shouldn’t consider this a free pass to recreate the stunt, nor should they want to given the damage it clearly causes.

Police have put up a $1,000 reward for information leading to the identification of the driver.

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