Two horrific crashes involving Teslas this weekend may help bolster the electric car maker's safety claims.
In the first crash, a stolen Tesla electric car split in two after a fiery crash on a West Hollywood, Calif., street following a police chase at speeds up to 100 mph. There were several injuries in the multicar crash, but no deaths at the scene, authorities say.
In the second crash, a Tesla rear-ended a Toyota Corolla on a California freeway in Palmdale, Calif., north of Los Angeles. The Toyota split in half, killing the 40-year-old driver and two boys. Two others were injured. The driver of the Tesla escaped with minor injuries, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In the first incident, the Tesla Model S apparently split after striking a pole at the end of the chase early Friday, resulting in injuries to several people, according to Los Angeles police statements to KTLA-TV, which captured dramatic video of the event.
KTLA reported that the chase began after a Tesla dealership reported the car was being tampered with on its lot. Photographs of the scene appear to show the Tesla's rear end wedged between a wall at a synagogue, several dozen feet from the front half, which came to rest next to two other wrecked cars in the middle of the street. From the photograph, it appears the Tesla Model S split behind the front seats.
The horrific crashes could bolster safety claims made last month by Tesla CEO Elon Musk. He told shareholders that no one had died in a Tesla or had a "single permanent injury" despite some dramatic crashes and more than 344 million miles of driving from all the cars on the road. "That is certainly one of our proudest accomplishments," he said.
The Model S has a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Safety became an issue earlier this year after two fires were reported in the cars' battery packs in the U.S. after striking objects on the road. But the company has since taken several steps, including adding additional protection to the battery pack. It also has emphasized that drivers had plenty of time to exit their vehicles, and no one was injured.