BREAKING: 3 Dead In Toyota Corolla, Tesla Model S Collision – Video


Scene From Tesla Model S, Toyota Corolla Wreck

Scene From Tesla Model S, Toyota Corolla Wreck

Toyota Corolla After Fatal Crash

Toyota Corolla After Fatal Crash – Image Via NBC Los Angeles

“Three family members were killed when a Tesla and a Toyota Corolla collided in Palmdale Friday night.”

Reports NBC Los Angeles.

This wreck involving a Tesla Model S is not to be confused with the previous event in which a stolen Model S was split in two following a high-speed chase.  The incidents are entirely separate, despite occurring within close proximity.

NBC Los Angeles adds:

“The crash occurred around 10:30 p.m. on the southbound lanes of the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway near Avenue S. When the California Highway Patrol arrived on scene, the Toyota was on fire.”

“Three people in the Toyota, all family members, were entrapped and pronounced dead on arrival. Two others, believed to be an adult and a child, were extricated and taken to nearby hospitals. The child is in critical condition.”

This is never the type of life-changing news we wish upon anyone.

On a brighter note, CHP Officer Jordan Richards says that multiple innocent bystanders assisted with removing the survivors from the burning vehicle and that the driver of the Tesla Model S suffered only minor injuries.

Officer Richards stated:

We ended up with three fatalities. Those three occupants were trapped in the vehicle as it was on fire.”

As for the cause of the crash, NBC Los Angeles reports:

“Officials believe the driver of the Tesla rear-ended the Toyota. It is unclear what caused the crash. There is no immediate indication that drugs or alcohol played a factor.”

Captain Brian Jordan of the Los Angeles County Fire Department states that the Corolla was “rear-ended by a high-speed Tesla.”

Separately, KTLA reports the following:

“A 2004 Toyota carrying five people was rear-ended by a 2013 Tesla on the southbound side of the Highway 14 near East Avenue S Friday around 10:35 p.m.”

“The Toyota became engulfed in flames, killing a 40-year-old man, 13-year-old boy and 8-year-old boy, CHP reported. “

“Ric Garrison, the 28-year-old Tesla driver from Newhall, was cleared by emergency personnel at the scene and released, CHP reported.”

*Editor’s Note: Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by this tragedy.

Scene From Tesla Model S, Toyota Corolla Wreck

Scene From Tesla Model S, Toyota Corolla Wreck

Source: NBC Los Angeles & KTLA

Categories: Tesla, Toyota

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92 Comments on "BREAKING: 3 Dead In Toyota Corolla, Tesla Model S Collision – Video"

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What is the matte with you people? How many accidents like this took place yesterday? Why pick on Tesla?


1. When electric cars began to be introduced to the World, anti-EV pundits like Clarkson made a fuss about riding around with flammable Lithium batteries.

2. Tesla’s response was to build an ultra-safe car, to the point that Musk has gotten into the (debatable)) habit of pointing out that nobody has died in a Tesla.

3. Every major Tesla collision thus becomes a test of these counter claims, and hence news in an EV site, if not generally.

As for me, what I find a little bothersome is that this is the second time a Tesla completely demolishes a compact car (it was a Honda the last time) due to aggressive driving. This tracks with comments I have heard that a percentage of Tesla drivers are racing-boy jerks who would do better to spend some time in a track to get it out of their system. I have no data to back this up, just anecdotes. But, we don’t see this kind of crash with Leaf or Volt drivers.

If anything I blame for allowing unsafe cars on the roads. from the pictures it is very clear that the crumble zone of the Tesla is very effective, and not so for the other car or dare I say cars. It is too ambitious to expect the NHTSA to come out and say “All cars should be as good as the Tesla by say 2020” But as much as it is ambitious as you see people die because they were in an unsafe car. Mistakes happen and the Tesla is 100% wrong but the same thing would have happened if the Tesla was a Truck.

The NHSTA is the one to blame here and thanks to the Tesla we can all drive safe cars IF the NHSTA has the guts to tell Ford GM Toyota etc to make safe cars like Tesla.

You obviously didn’t check the facts before you posted. The 2004 Toyota Corolla has a 5 star crash rating.

Honestly, it simply shows that a Tesla driver was not paying attention. The responsibility is the driver of the car behind to allow enough space to stop safely.

This has nothing to do with the Tesla design.

It is both the weight and size. Tesla is small yet extremely heavy and dense, and it is designed to be very aero-dynamic. All these make it a loose torpedo on the road.

A Tesla is “small”? You really don’t know what you’re talking about. A Tesla can seat 7.

Momentum has as much to do with velocity as it does mass, last time I checked.

You have to realize the fact that the Toyota was lighter, and crumpled may have saved the Tesla Driver’s life. Role reversal, have the Tesla rear-end a non crumple zone, heavier box truck and see what would have happened. It is all relative. There is always a vehicle that is heavier and less forgiving than yours.

Not really–the NHTSA ran the Tesla into a solid barrier to determine its VSS score–no crumble zone there.

Tesla drivers who are racing-boy jerks are just former BMW/Merc racing-boy jerks. Unfortunately, they’re all around us in all sorts of cars.

No one is ‘picking on Tesla’ . . . this is just reporting news. EVs are still relatively new and how they fare in accidents is of interest to EV people.

it should also be of interest, how the other cars fare, and what’s the cause of the accident.

I would like to here some stories about the leaf and the Mitsubishi i-miev how they fare in accidents.

The Tesla meanwhile is one of the heaviest cars on the road do to it’s large battery pack and it’s low center of gravity.

Not really. One of my cars is a Land Rover Discovery. When I’m driving, if somebody were to drive into me, I wouldn’t think about how the other people fared until, well, erm, about a week later? Just as I wouldn’t think about the other people should some numbnut pull out in front of me…
I big and heavy. Get out of the feckin way!

You may want to read the news, and see how many other fatalities happened this weekend, before standing behind “nobody is picking”.

I am away and wife turned to me, “did you here about that Tesla”, after reading from I don’t know where.

This website is ‘InsideEVs’. That is why an EV accident is discussed. Not complicated.

They are not picking on the Tesla, they are picking on the Corolla

The Tesla S driver was 28 years old.


My guess is that we have a case of a someone driving too fast… very tempting thing to do with the S.

I think the age may have been a mistake. I heard he was around 50, possibly a doctor.

Thanks for the FUD, Hans.

Actually, he is 58, and he is a doctor, and he is devastated.

People are not used to the instant torque and quick acceleration of the vehicle. This is why I believe we will see more incidents of this type, where the Tesla driver hits someone, or something, or multiple somethings.
To paraphrase: The fault is in our drivers, not in our vehicles.
Condolences to all that suffered a loss in this accident.

as tragic as this accident was, it points out a huge difference between EV and gasoline vehicles – gasoline is much much more flammable than even the worst battery. With gasoline, you have seconds to escape while in an EV you have minutes.

I think the cause of death in this case is bodies being physically trapped inside the car. Look at the picture. The left hand side rear wheel is very close to the B pillar. anyone sitting on that side of the car in the back is going to be doubled up and squashed into the back of the front seat. Although the rear of the car has been pushed in more on that side, the other side is also pushed forwards. I’d guess the three who died were in the back and the driver. Even if it was a battery powered car, once it catches fire, you are burning and suffocating…

The “auto-stop” technology can’t come soon enough. In a $100k car, seems like it should be standard.

Wouldn’t surprise me to see Tesla prioritize some safety features like auto stop and other collision avoidance features over the next year or two.

Of course the sad thing is that in cases where it’s overgrown frat boys racing, they’ll likely disable the feature.

Anthony, These “upgrades” have limits for people who track, and it is getting much harder to turn them off. It’s not an “overgrown frat boy” thing, to want to control a car. Surf “ICE mode” or what happens when wheel diameters get out of ratio, or how these systems don’t adjust for better grip (and sometimes suddenly engage). Race teams pay $10k for systems that get rid of this kind of stuff, because the consequences of “safety” can be quite the opposite.

I hate where the auto mags are going with EV’s, but understand it sometimes. Yes, it’ll fix it for the Corollas, but other people’s irresponsibility shouldn’t ruin it for those who are responsible.

“Auto stop” technology is as big a safety innovation as air bags, crumple zones, and VSC. “Auto stop” technology can’t filter down to more economical cars fast enough.

Autostop is not without its limitations, however. As someone who has been following the new MK7 Golf/GTI, I’ve seen numerous accounts of this ‘auto stop’ type technology engage at random, which could easily cause an accident, instead of prevent one.

High power, heavy cars don’t kill people. People kill people. If they had been packing an SUV, they would have been safe.

When a Leopard 2 tank hits a SUV with 80 km/h, you will be dead in the SUV. So better use only a star destroyer to drive…

Unless the death star backs into you…

Wow 2nd morning i wake up to a Tesla crash

I think we’ve seen that a higher than usual percentage of Tesla drivers are dicks, which is not surprising given the marketing of the car. Mine is more expense and faster than yours is most appealing to the entitled set. Given the drivers age, no doubt we’ll see the “Affluenza” defense.

There does appear to be a number of Tesla drivers who engage in reckless driving (20+ mph over speed limit) on the highway. Musk himself was pulled over for speeding in the Model S. That does not help the perception.

Whether this is also reflective of other luxury car drivers is unknown. Perhaps traffic fine based on the net worth of the driver would slow them down?

This is not Finland.

Nor is this Game of Thrones.

Nor is it a Troll Zone…

Why does it appear that way to you? To me it appears the opposite.

There has still never been a fatality in a Tesla, or even a serious injury, if you don’t count a thief who didn’t wear a seat belt. It’s a safe car, but it’s not THAT much safer than other 5 star rated cars, indicating that there are fewer accidents, in turn indicating that they are being driven safely.

What is your evidence to the contrary?

apparently, the thief didn’t die.

Yeah, I was referring to the serious injury part.

It’ safe for the ones inside a Tesla. For other cars and pedestrians and bicyclists on the road, model S is a killer.
Depends on your point of view.

That has nothing at all to do with what we were talking about, which was whether or not Tesla drivers are particularly dangerous drivers.

But to your point, there isn’t any evidence to support your viewpoint either. There are actually European pedestrian safety standards that Tesla has to meet to sell in Europe, which indicates that Teslas are not more dangerous to pedestrians or other autos than any other car.

I think your (mistaken) viewpoint is based on the fact that the Tesla occupants usually survive. You make the flawed assumption that because the Tesla occupants survive, that the Tesla is somehow more dangerous to the occupants of the other vehicle. In fact, if the occupants of the Tesla had died, it would not have made the occupants of the Corolla any safer.

@John Hansen
What is your evidence “indicating that there are fewer accidents” by Tesla Model S drivers?

It was in the sentence previous to the one you quoted…

The previous sentence reads: “There has still never been a fatality in a Tesla, or even a serious injury, if you don’t count a thief who didn’t wear a seat belt.”

The lack of a fatality or serious injury in a Tesla isn’t evidence that the Tesla drivers are involved in fewer accidents.

He was pulled over for speeding because he was showing off the acceleration to a few guys from the cast of iron man.

What marketing?

This is the flipside to making the Tesla S so heavy. The occupants of the Tesla are projected because the heavier car always wins in a collision. They walk away, but the sheer mass of the car is deadly to the riders in other cars.

That’s only part of it. The fact that there is no engine up front gives the Model S a huge crumple zone. No doubt the injuries to the Tesla driver would have been worse without that CZ. To some extent, this makes it better for the car that gets rear-ended by the MS. If an equal weight SUV had the hit the Corolla, the damage would probably have been even worse (though the end result the same, fatalities).

Also, let’s not forget that a maker of a gasoline powered car needs to really protect the gas tank. 60 lbs of high flammable liquid is inherently dangerous. The people in that car were trapped and the fire killed them. They most likely survived the collision.

The real culprit here is our dependence on gasoline as a fuel.

It’s not actually terribly heavy as large cars go. For example, a Ford Taurus is 4,388 pounds vs the Model S at 4,647 pounds. That’s only 6% heavier.

It’s not just the weight but also the density. A 1000 lbs steel ball will do a lot more damage that a 1000 lb bag of cotton. The pressure on impact depends a lot on both the size and weight of the object.

So you’re saying that a Taurus is a less dense car than a Tesla? To be less dense, the Taurus would either have to be a lot lighter (it isn’t) or a lot larger (it isn’t).

A Ford Taurus is 3967 lbs. Model S is 4647 lbs. I think, this might have to do with the impact area, speed and the weight.

May be, somehow the model S hit some vulnerable part of Corolla in this accident, and not the rear bumper, The transport authority needs to standardize the bumper heights for all cars.

The Taurus ranges from 3964lbs (base model) to 4455lbs (SHO).

The Model S 85kWh is 4647 lbs, 60kWh is 4464lbs.

I don’t think the weight difference is big enough to make that huge of a difference and the size is pretty similar.

In this case the appropriate comparison is the the mass of the Model S to the mass of the Corolla. Rigidity also counts for a lot. The battery pack is like a battering ram.

Model s or tesla have so few cars on the road compared to other brands, so of course they can brag about no fatalities. I don’t see why they brag about this because fatalities will come no matter how safe a car is made, it’s just a matter of time. Just like there is no hack proof systems in computer world. What puzzles me is this expensive car with all the rewards and safety doesn’t have auto brake or stop features available today. But then again it’s people that kill people.

The safety factor of the Tesla has already been born out by the level of idiocy of some of the drivers that have had high speed wrecks with them. We have several examples now of 100+mph wrecks with drunk drivers and stolen cars where the driver has survived. Even in these ridiculous scenarios where the drivers did EVERYTHING wrong, they survived with no major injuries (except for the thief with no seatbelt on). In this latest wreck, the Toyota with a 5 star safety rating caught fire and killed three passengers. None of the Teslas that caught fire had the fire injure anyone. Just some burning of little batteries. Every year over 150 thousand cars catch on fire in the US alone, over 35 thousand people die in auto accidents. Not only hasn’t anyone died IN a Tesla, the only person seriously injured crashed at over 100mph hitting 4 cars and ripping the Tesla apart sideways on a light pole while not wearing a seatbelt…. AND LIVED. People die everyday in accidents at 35mph… I think the next step from Tesla is going to be creating an accident avoidance system using the technology/scientists they have available at SpaceX. I just… Read more »

I do blame the (well earned) media reputation of the Model S being a hybrid Tank / SpeedDemon that can hold up to some amazing urban punishment, while protecting its occupants far better than most ordinary ICE vehicles…

I think this indestructable feeling some drivers may experience (add in road rage, driving inexperience or just being a d*ck), and this might influence higher risk taking than otherwise may occur with lesser vehicles. It otherwise becomes difficult to explain why these crashes appear to be so dramatic… *shrugs*

I thought the Chinese guy with a hammer was incomprehensible in his destructiveness, but clearly– poor driving resulting in deaths is a far worse choice.


Really if it had been an a Toyota Camry that had read ended the Carolla this would have not been a blip on anything but the local new feed and then only that 3 people were killed. Why do people have to make his about the car? Kinda reminds me of he same mind set with regards to guns. If a semi automatic weapon is used in the commission of a crime the actual crime takes a back seat to the fact that it involved a semi automatic weapon. Seemingly stupid people want to blame anything other than other stupid people.
Tesla, Elton Musk can’t fix stupid people. I suppose Tesla will now have to do background checks on all potential buyers now? Really??

Or Tesla could finally put in auto-stop collision avoidance technology in it’s cars. It’s practically standard equipment in high-end luxury cars, but apparantly it’s not a priority for Elon and Tesla.

Everything can’t be a priority. As hugely influential as they are, the reality is, Tesla Motors is a small company that has to constantly prioritize goals to accomplish them. The battery swap system, is a great example of this… Supercharger installations were higher on the list. Most owners probably are thankful that goal was chosen over the other.

AutoPilot is in dev, so I wouldn’t expect AutoStop much before it is ready to be released, next year.

because the Tesla is the most talked about, most popular car.

Looking forward to Independence weekend accident statistics and totals … cars total, deaths, and injuries broken down by propulsion technology (battery-electric, diesel, ethanol, fuel cell, gas, hybrid, NG, steam).

Because fuel type is cause of the majority of accidents and not speed, or driver alertness (distracted, or impaired drivers). Sarcasm is also a key killer for electric car drivers! (intentional pun)

Sad that so much talent and resources are lost each year on one of the deadliest holidays.

The Tesla looks like it was in a fender bender, with the Corolla destroyed.

Which points out the benefits of high strength aluminum and battery power, and the dangers of a tank of flammable gasoline in a bumper to bumper accident.

But here is something interesting. Looking at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, even though the Corolla had a 5 Star Crash Test rating, there seems to be no REAR crash test data or score.

All the 5 star crash test does is rate the impact of the front and side crash, but nothing about being rear ended. (unless I am missing something)

If nothing else this accident should raise red flags

The same thing that makes the Model S a safer car for its passengers (a huge and effective crumple zone) makes this car safer for occupants of other cars too. A crumple zone works by spreading the effect of rapid deceleration over a longer period, which benefits both cars in a collision.

In this collision it wasn’t the impact that killed the occupants of the Corolla, it was the fire. Therefore the weight and size of the Model S is not relevant in this discussion.

+1 !!!

It seems that people are so desensitized to vehicle fires that many aren’t picking up on that detail! Although the corolla was rear-ended by the Tesla, the passengers in the rear were trapped and killed by the follow-up gasoline fire!

The only thing relevant to the Tesla/EV is that the fire wasn’t started by the EV.

You can’t determine cause of death by looking at pist accident pics. A coroner has to examine the bodies to determine cause of death. For example, if there is no evidence of smoke inhalation in the lungs or burns in the respiratory system, then they weren’t breathing and may have been dead already when the fire consumed them.

Sven, from the article…

“The Toyota became engulfed in flames, killing a 40-year-old man, 13-year-old boy and 8-year-old boy, CHP reported. “

The CHP doesn’t determine the cause of death, the coroner does after performing an autopsy. The COD could be blunt force trama from the impact of the crash. In other words, they could have been already dead when the fire engulfed them. If they were still alive during the fire, they would still be breathing and the autopsey would show soot in their trachea and elevated levels of CO2 in there blood.

The three who died were alive and trapped after the collision. Bystanders tried to pull them from the wreckage, but were only able to extract the 6-year old from his car seat by cutting the seat belt and pulling him by his armpits. The driver and two older boys burned to death.

Here is a major factor in why I think the Tesla destroyed the other car so easily.

Toyota Corolla 3585 Pounds

Tesla Model S 4,647 pounds.

If the Tesla is 40% heavier then the Corolla and is going at 80 to 100 miles and it hits the back end of the Corolla. It has almost a 1000 extra pounds going into it at 80 to 90 miles on hour.


I always appreciate how folks don’t let facts get in the way of speculation–its what makes the internet so entertaining. So, lets look at curb weights for some performance sedans: – Model S: 4,647 lbs – Audi RS7: 4,475 lbs – BMW M5: 4,387 lbs – Maserati Quattroporte: 4,389 lbs – MB CLS 550: 4,255 lbs The MS is within 10% of the lightest of this the (the MB) and they have similar footprints and frontal areas. Cars are traditionally weight “dry” so add a tank of gas you you are looking at another 100+ lbs and an even closer gap. The cars also have a similar footprint and frontal area. So the MS in not particularly heavier on denser (whatever that means) than is peer group. Let you think performance sedans are particularly evil, the lightest version of the Ford F-150 weights 4,685 lbs. If you want to worry about being hit by something, worry about an Escalade or a Suburban which both come in close to 6,000lbs. The equation for force is m*a and the equation for momentum is m*v. In either case, whether the “m” is from a Model S, an M5 or a large block of… Read more »

PS In case its not clear why I reference the F-150, its the best selling vehicle in the US for the last 32 years.

Yes, and lets add that the front engine vehicles have significantly less of a front crumple zone. I would bet they have more impact than a Model S.

Kinetic energy goes up with the square of the mass of the car. That’s not to let any of these other cars off the hook. Cars need to become lighter, it that’s hard to do when you share the road with 18 wheelers.

From the pics it looks like the Tesla didn’t hit the Corolla dead center in the rear bumper, but instead hit the Corolla in an offset crash. It looks like the passenger-side half of the Model S front bumper hit the driver-side half of the Corolla rear bumper, pushing the driver’s-side rear wheel, torsion beam, and trunk into the fuel tank under the rear seat. The Corolla’s passenger-side rear wheel is not pushed forward. Note that there is no pic of the damage to the front passenger-side of the Model S.

The offset crash helps explain why the Model S driver suffered only minor injuries; the brunt of the impact was absorbed by the front passenger side of the Model S. Likewise, the offset crash helps explain how the much lighter Corolla sustained such catastrofic damage that it’s fuel tank was breached.

My thoughts and prayers to the deceased. RIP.

obviously the toyota was going slower, so did it stop abruptly or was the tesla speeding? still wouldnt make sense how the corolla just exploded and caught on fire. The toyota had to have done something abrupt and gave the tesla no time to stop

we’ll see what happens

Or the Tesla driver could have been distracted, reading a text message or playing with the jumbotron in the center console. Or the Tesla driver could have dozed off like the truck driver who rear-ended Tracy Morgan.

and the tesla driver is 58, not 28, and is a Physician

I used to have an Audi that caught fire twice and a Ford Galaxy 500 that also caught fire twice as well as a Chevy small block pick-up truck that caught fire.

If they had just been electric, I would have gotten some publicity.


Are you a pyro technician or arsonist? How ar eyou putting so many cars on fire?

Is your second car a fire truck? 😉

the 4th of July weekend unfortunately has the most traffic fatalities.

Many people traveling in unfamiliar areas. Some traveling too fast, some under the influence and yes sometimes just an accident.


Ok, so it’s (almost) agreed that Tesla (and really all other cars) should have Adaptive Cruise Control, and Auto Stop. Good, I’m onboard with that.

I’m going to throw this out there, should (future models) have a “de-tuned” acceleration curve? Obviously, this could be done in the existing software. I don’t know if there is an accessible accelerometer, in the car, but if there is, that would be good for system feedback. I imagine this can be addressed in the X and the III.

Things get interesting when smaller and hence inherently less safe third gen Tesla comes with 400 horsepower electric motor that offers instant max torque.

Due to electric car revolution recless driving gets into new level as everyone has unlimited power and AWD in their car.

Toyota is NOT safe….

That is the conclusion of this news..

Especially a 10 year old Toyota.

ok…. I saw this coming home from LA… here is what I believe what happened… it was about 10:30, the city fireworks had ended and people were going home… but, over the city people continue to shoot off fireworks into the sky for much later into the night… where this accident happened was at or near the apex of the hill, where you can see most of the east Palmdale area….. from all I have gathered and have seen and can reason out is the following… the Toyota pulled over to the side of the road to watch the fire works over east/south Palmdale, after a quick break to watch some more fire works they decide to go home, they pull back onto the freeway from the shoulder, maybe not even turned on there lights yet, and the Telsa slams them from behind…. jmho… nothing else my reasons: 1. 4th of july fireworks 2. perfect place to watch them from 3. perfect time to watch them 4. where impacted, front right of tesla, rear left Toyota 5. witness’s said tesla was going flow of traffic…. which is around 65 in that area (I live up the street) 6. amount of… Read more »

Has anyone heard any more details on the cause of this crash?, from the looks of the Corolla I wouldn’t be surprised to find out it was stalled in lane. Stalled cars on a open road is extremely dangerous situation, if this was the case then it’s hard for me to lay all blame on the driver that rear ended it. I’m a very safe driver, always driving defensive, always looking way forward on the freeway but just a month ago I came up on a stalled car in lane at night, thank God I was one lane over or I would have clearly hit it. I saw the car but it looked like it was moving so my attention went to other cars, by the time I realized it was stalled I wouldn’t have had time to even touch the brake pedal. I called CHP and they took it very serious, I could almost hear in the dispacthers tone that the next call she would get would be a bad wreck at the same location. My knees still go weak just thinking of what would have happened.