Tesla Crash Sends Battery Cells Flying, Starts House Fire

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The Tesla Model 3 driver amazingly survived and fled the scene before being found a few blocks away.

November 20, 2020

Tesla Crash Sends Battery Cells Flying, Starts House Fire

On Tuesday night, police in Corvallis, Oregon arrived at the scene of a 100 mph (160 km/h) crash involving a Tesla Model 3 to find a driver that miraculously survived.

The crash happened at such velocity that it sent parts of the car, including several individual battery cells, flying hundreds of feet. One of these cells started a small fire in a nearby house after it flew through a window and landed on bedsheets.

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A high-velocity Tesla Model 3 crash

The driver is believed to have been speeding in excess of 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) and to have been under the influence, a Corvallis Police Department report published on Facebook explains.

The Model 3 is said to have torn through two trees and a power pole before finally coming to rest after colliding with a telephone junction box.

Tesla Crash Sends Battery Cells Flying, Starts House FireSource: City of Corvallis Police Department/Facebook

"The damage from the collision caused the batteries from the Tesla to enter two different residences by breaking through the windows, one landing on a person’s lap and the second landing on a bed, catching the bedding on fire," the report says.

A tire also went flying from the vehicle with such force that it tore through the wall of a nearby apartment building, destroyed the apartment's water piping, and flooded part of the interior.

Question about electric vehicle safety

Amazingly, the suspect actually "fled on foot and was located approximately three blocks away" with only "minor injuries." Upon evaluation, it was determined that the driver was "impaired by marijuana." 

While the fact that the man walked away with only minor injuries, the incident further highlights an important point of discussion when it comes to electric vehicle (EV) safety; how safe are the people surrounding an EV when it crashes?

Tesla Crash Sends Battery Cells Flying, Starts House FireSource: City of Corvallis Police Department/Facebook

In a separate statement, the Corvallis Police Department urged any citizens in the area to be careful near the location of the crash, as any remaining battery cells that have not yet been found can cause burns, release toxic fumes, and leak substances that are hazardous to humans and animals. 

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