Two teenagers were killed in a crash in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Tuesday, May 8. The Tesla car they were traveling in crashed and caught fire, according to police.
Police said the speed of the vehicle is thought to be a factor in the crash. A preliminary investigation showed the 2014 Tesla Model S moved off the roadway and immediately caught fire after having struck a concrete wall. The crash happened around 6:45 p.m. on the 1300 block of Seabreeze Boulevard, according to a Fort Lauderdale Police Department statement.
Driver Barrett Riley and front seat passenger Edgar Monserratt Martinez, both 18, were pronounced dead at the scene. Backseat passenger Alexander Berry, 18, was ejected from the car on impact and left “seriously hurt”. He was transported to Broward Health Medical Center for treatment.
Local 10 News reported that a witness says the Tesla was being driven fast and spun out of control.
“They were still moving, but we couldn’t get them out because the fire was too intense,” he told Local 10 News.
“They’re supposed to graduate high school next week, and it just breaks my heart … what these parents, they got the worst call of their life, and their lives are never going to be the same,” another witness, Wendy Mascolo, told Local 10 News.
Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, where Riley and Martinez attended, is providing grief counselors to students.
“These two members of our senior class should be finishing their AP exams and celebrating things like the prom and their upcoming graduation. Instead, we are mourning their passing,” Pine Crest President Dr. Dana Markham said in a statement.
“There really are no words to express how deeply this has affected our entire community,” she said.
Markham said the two teens were part of a close group of friends and loved boating and fishing, according to NBC Miami. Riley was a member of the school’s crew and tennis teams, and Martinez was into business and gave investment advice to his teachers.
Both teens were going to attend college–Riley to be at Purdue University, and Martinez to Babson College in Massachusetts.
“Our thoughts are with the families and friends affected by this tragedy,” Tesla said in a statement. “We are working to establish the facts of the incident and offer our full cooperation to local authorities.”
Tesla has been under scrutiny before over several instances of vehicles having caught fire.
Seabreeze Boulevard was shut down from the 17th Street Bridge to Harbor Drive for several hours as police investigated the crash.
Police ask that anyone who may have witnessed this crash or who has any video footage of this incident to contact Traffic Homicide Investigator Paul Williams at 954-828-5755.
By Mimi Nguyen Ly