A lawsuit recently filed against Tesla accuses Elon Musk’s car company of negligence following the death of two teenagers and injury of third in a fiery crash in 2017, alleging the company installed a defective battery pack and removed a speed limiter installed in the car.
Barrett Riley, the 18-year-old owner and driver of the 2014 Tesla Model S in question, was burned to death following a crash in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, alongside his passenger, 18-year-old Edgar Monserratt Martinez. A third passenger in the rear seat survived after being injured following ejection from the vehicle.
Riley crashed into a wall at high speed, then rebounded into a light pole on the other side of the road. His car then erupted into flames.
Last May, a Tesla driven by Barrett Riley with passenger Edgar Monserratt Martinez crashed into a concrete wall and erupted in flames in Fort Lauderdale, Florida killing both the teenagers, according to the lawsuit.
Less than two months before the crash, Riley’s parents had a limiter installed at a Tesla service center to prevent the vehicle from reaching over 85 mph, but it was removed at another Tesla service visit without his parents’ knowledge, the law firm said here
An additional count in the lawsuit alleges Tesla was negligent in the removal of the limiter.
It added that Riley was driving the vehicle at 116 mph, immediately before the collision.
The lawsuit was filed by a law firm representing the estate of Edgar Monserratt Martinez. The law firm claimed that at least a dozen cases had been reported of Tesla S batteries catching fire in collisions and while stationary over the past five years.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a preliminary report on the crash in June 2018. It revealed that the Tesla Model S’s battery reigniting twice after being extinguished:
The Fort Lauderdale Fire and Rescue Department arrived at the crash scene and found the Tesla fully engulfed in flames. They extinguished the vehicle fire using 200–300 gallons of water and foam. Small portions of the lithium-ion high-voltage battery had separated from the vehicle, and—though there was no visible fire —they applied water and foam to the debris. During the loading of the car for removal from the scene, the battery reignited and was quickly extinguished. Upon arrival at the storage yard, the battery reignited again. A local fire department responded to the storage yard and extinguished the fire.
In March 2018, NTSB opened an investigation into a fatal Tesla crash in California which included a post-crash fire.