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Thieves Steal Tesla, Speed Away at 100 MPH, Crash, Slice Car in Half

The Tesla had been stolen from a Playa Vista-area dealership.

A Tesla split in half after car thieves crashed it in West Hollywood. Patch file photo.
A Tesla split in half after car thieves crashed it in West Hollywood. Patch file photo.

A stolen Tesla speeding up La Brea Avenue at up to 100 miles per hour was sliced in half, and its lithium batteries exploded and burned, in a crash that injured at least six people today.

A preliminary report that one person had been killed was retracted by the sheriff's office, said deputy Quinana Birkbeck. It was not immediately clear between the city and county police, sheriff's and fire departments who responded or if it was six or seven people who were hurt.

The stolen Tesla, with two car thieves on board, hit two vehicles, with five people in them, and then a traffic light pole. The Tesla was split in half, with the back half wedged into outdoor alcove between two walls at Congregation Kol Ami synagogue.

Paramedics and firefighters had to cut the roof of of a Honda sedan to remove the injured people inside.

The Tesla had been stolen from a Playa Vista-area dealership in the 5800 block of Centinela Avenue, near Jefferson Street at the San Diego (405) Freeway. Los Angeles police chased the car east, into the Baldwin Hills.

The LAPD patrol vehicle sustained substantial damage in its crash, on La Brea Avenue near Stocker Street. The northbound LAPD squad car came to rest in the southbound lanes of the highway, which has a guard rail in the center median.

Seven miles to the north, the sports car sped up La Brea Avenue at 100 miles per hour when it hit the Honda and a third vehicle, said LAPD Pacific Division Sgt. Campbell. The sergeant would not provide a first name.

Campbell said one of the theft suspects was ejected from the Tesla, possibly through the windshield. A videographer said he saw firefighters drag the other suspect from the Tesla's front end as it burned.

Four people in the other two vehicles hit by the Tesla were injured, one seriously, Campbell said.

Video shot from a nearby apartment showed burning lithium batteries popping and sending fiery debris more than three stories into the air.

La Brea Avenue remained closed in West Hollywood while the investigation continued.

--City News Service


Vicky Nissen July 05, 2014 at 06:08 PM
I was gonna leave a comment about the poor grammar but decided not to......
Pork McShutty July 06, 2014 at 10:22 AM
... not ......
Candi Cane July 06, 2014 at 12:28 PM
The car came with a guarantee. If it splits in half, you get to keep both halves.
Stephen Warren July 06, 2014 at 02:30 PM
Was kind of hoping the theives were the only casualties and were hauled away in body bags. Never seems to work that way though, unfortunately.
RC Vic Kerman July 06, 2014 at 05:28 PM
It is an Electric car and can only run for about an hour so you just lay back and let the air patrol follow the car until it has to stop for a charge and then you wouldn't endanger other innocent lives! Period!

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