Tesla driver Casey Speckman was legally drunk when she crashed her boss’ Model S, causing an explosive wreck that killed her boss and herself in November. However, Jon Speckman, her father, said in an exclusive interview with The Indianapolis Star that he has no doubt that her odds of surviving the downtown accident would have been much better in any other vehicle.
Casey tried to avoid a wrong-way driver
According to an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department accident report and investigators, Casey Speckman’s blood alcohol level tested at 0.21%. The legal limit at which a driver is presumed intoxicated is 0.08% in Indiana. According to investigators, Casey’s boss and the owner of the Tesla, Kevin McCarthy, had a blood alcohol level that tested at 0.17%.
Last week, Casey’s father, who met with The Star at his attorney’s office, said he wants the public to know that there was more to the deadly explosion than how many drinks his daughter consumed that night.
“Had she been in another vehicle she would have been alive for me to yell at her for driving after drinking,” Speckman said.
Right before Casey Speckman lost control, she swerved to avoid a wrong-way driver on Illinois Street. Alfred Finnell Jr. saw the crash while driving behind the Model S.
The car sped right by him. Finnell, 81, told The Star that the car passed him like a flash, adding, “It hit that curb and plowed into that tree.”
Further, Finnell said that the car exploded before he could get out of his truck.
“The parts of the car, engine and everything went up in the air. It was the most horrifying thing that I had ever seen,” he said. According to firefighters, the debris field stretched about 150 yards.
Tesla vehicles safer than gasoline cars: Musk
The Model S is powered by a 1,200-pound battery pack made up of several thousand small lithium batteries. The force of the crash broke apart the battery pack, causing a fiery explosion that killed both passengers, notes USA Today.
Lithium batteries used in cell phone and laptop batteries can explode as well if damaged or pierced. Another Tesla caught fire in 2013 after its battery was pierced by debris on a Washington road. The driver was unharmed and was able to pull over.
In response to the news, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that his vehicles are still safer than gas-powered cars. The result could have been far worse if a conventional gasoline car had encountered the same object on the highway, Musk said.