Tesla Model S Involved In Fatal Santa Cruz Bike Crash

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Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s flagship Model S has been named in the death of a cyclist, Joshua Alper. On Wednesday, Santa Cruz County prosecutors said that a Santa Cruz-based Tesla Model S driver, Navindra Kumar Jain, will be charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, reports the Santa Cruz Sentinel. According to the California Highway Patrol, Navindra Kumar Jain fell asleep at the wheel and struck Joshua Alper head-on on Nov.2.

Legal maneuverings

Prosecutor Greg Peinado said that the Model S driver will be charged with a misdemeanor instead of a felony. Evidence suggests that he didn’t act in a reckless manner. The investigation included toxicology reports, crash-scene analysis, data from the car’s computer, and interviews with witnesses. Jain is a retired tech executive. Alper was serving as a librarian at UC Santa Cruz. The California Highway Patrol said in a report that Jain remained at the crash scene after the accident, and he spoke with CHP officials and witnesses.

Earlier this week, the lawyer representing Alper’s family filed a civil lawsuit against Jain, alleging that he negligently and carelessly drove into Alper. Surprisingly, the suit also names Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA). It says that the Tesla car involved in the crash was “defective and unreasonably dangerous.” The lawsuit goes on to mention funeral expenses, without specifying the amount of money it sought. Tesla Motors hasn’t yet responded to the complaint.

Do new Tesla cars really smell that bad?

The CHP report says that Jain purchased a Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s Model S about 10 days before the crash. The electric vehicle had a strong, new-car smell, so he had to use a baking soda car freshener. Jain told officials that there were no mechanical problems with the car, but the strong smell drove him to sleep. Alper’s family attorney Terry O’Reilly said he never heard, in his 44-year career, of a new car smell hindering the driver. There have also been other accidents and cars catching fire in the past.

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) shares went up 0.88% to $179.95 in pre-market trading Friday.

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