Second Crash In One Month Of A Tesla Into A Parked Firetruck Results In Fatality
Tesla's long-running list of crashes involving its vehicles smashing at full-speed into the rear end of parked first responder vehicles has a new tragic footnote. The latest killed the passenger-side occupant of the vehicle. This latest crash happened this past Sunday morning December 29th, 2019. The accident occurred at 8:00 am in the morning, in dry conditions and in broad daylight. The crash took place on Route I-70 in Indiana. This is the second crash of a Tesla vehicle into a parked firetruck in just this month.
Note: Where are the images? We have opted not to post the images of the crash scene since it involved a fatality. You can view them here if you wish.
We are no longer certain of the exact number of Tesla cars that have smashed into the rear of parked first responder vehicles, the accident list now becoming difficult to manage due to frequency. However, by our estimate, this is the sixth such crash. It is the first we know of that involved the death of an occupant in the Tesla vehicle. However, other crashes have of course resulted in fatalities on many occasions.
Indiana police say that drugs and alcohol are not considered to be a cause of this accident at this time. Police also have not yet said if this crash involved the use of Tesla's Autopilot driver-assist system, often referred to by many as "self-driving" technology. Torque News will update this story if a determination as to Autopilot's involvement is made.
Police say the following are the known circumstances surrounding this latest crash:
"A 2019 Tesla, driven by a Derrick N. Monet, age 25, of Prescott Valley, Arizona, failed to observe the emergency vehicle positioned in the passing lane of I-70, running into the back of the parked fire truck. Derrick Monet and a passenger, his wife, Jenna N. Monet, age 23, also of Prescott Valley, Arizona, received serious injuries from the impact. Both occupants had to be extricated and were transported to the hospital for immediate medical care. Jenna Monet later succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased at Terre Haute Regional Hospital."
As with the many previous crashes, no first responder was injured in this Tesla crash. Below is a partial list of previously reported stories related to Tesla vehicles crashing into the rear of parked first responder vehicles:
-Tesla Model 3 On Autopilot Hits Yet Another Police Vehicle - Why Won't They Stop?
- (August 2018) Third Tesla Crashes Into Back of Firetruck - That's Four Crashes Into Emergency Vehicles This Year
- (January) Tesla Police Blotter News - Tesla Driver Hits Parked Firetruck - Blames Autopilot
- Second Tesla Model S Slams Into the Back Of Firetruck - Occupant Says Car Was In Autopilot Mode
- Another Tesla On Autopilot Hits Another Emergency Vehicle - You Can't Make This Stuff Up
- "Stop This Nonsense": Tesla's Autopilot and Its Problems With Stationary Object Detection
- NTSB Report Eerily Predicts Tesla Model X Autopilot Fatality 6 Months In Advance
- Tesla Tries To Address Autopilot's Fatal Flaw Ahead of Full Self Driving Update
There is no word yet on whether the NTSB will investigate this newest Tesla crash into a firetruck. The agency has investigated prior crashes of this type. We will update our story if the agency opts to look closely at this crash. Media reports on a second fatal crash this same day do confirm that federal investigators are looking into that incident.
Why does Torque News report on Tesla crashes of this type? For two reasons. First, these crashes are unusual and newsworthy since they appear to be almost identical and may be caused by a self-driving system Tesla is evolving into what it refers to as "full-self-driving." Second, in anticipation of a Tesla Autopilot death of a first responder which we feel poses the possibility to bankrupt this public company. In June of 2018, Torque News interviewed an MIT researcher working with Tesla to evaluate Autopilot safety from big data. He told us (on video) "We know there is an issue with the detection of static objects."
Torque News has reached out to Tesla for more details on this crash and asked specifically if Autopilot was being used at the time of the crash. If we receive any added information we will edit this story and indicate the update.
John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. John's focus areas are technology, safety, and green vehicles. In the 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric vehicle from scratch. His was the role of battery thermal control designer. For 20 years he applied his engineering and sales talents in the high tech world and published numerous articles in technical journals such as Chemical Processing Magazine. In 2008 he retired from that career and dedicated himself to chasing his dream of being an auto writer. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and connect with him at Linkedin.