In November of 2016, Casey Speckman was driving drunk when she swerved out of the road and hit a tree and then a parking garage in Indianapolis. The car exploded into flames almost immediately, and Speckman, aged 27, died from crash-related injuries. The passenger, Kevin McCarthy, aged 44, died as a result of the burns and smoke inhalation caused by the fire.
While Speckman was found to have a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.21, nearly 3 times the legal limit in Indiana, new information has recently surfaced proving that Speckman was swerving to avoid a car that was traveling the wrong direction on the road she was driving on, which may have partially caused the accident. Her father's lawyer has released a White Castle parking lot video to the IndyStar which shows Speckman narrowly avoiding the other car.
In addition to the influence of the other car, her father believes that her chances of survival would have been much higher if she had been driving a different car. The young woman was driving a Tesla 2015 Model S, which “is powered by a 1,200-pound battery pack made up of several thousand small lithium batteries.”
Tesla has been accused of unsafe design and implementation of lithium batteries before. In 2013, multiple incidents involving exploding lithium battery packs, punctured by road debris, caused the company to reinforce the battery cases with titanium. Experts disagree about the comparative safety of lithium battery operated vehicles and gasoline-powered ones.
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, published a statement regarding the accident, reassuring Tesla owners as to the safety of their vehicle."For consumers concerned about fire risk, there should be absolutely zero doubt that it is safer to power a car with a battery than a large tank of highly flammable liquid."
“Had she been in another vehicle she would have been alive for me to yell at her for driving after drinking," Jon Speckman, Casey's father, told the city's newspaper.
Alfred Finnell, who was driving behind the Tesla when the accident occurred, and watched the explosion and fire break out. After the crash, Finnell says he pulled over to the side of the road, but “before I could get out of my truck, the car exploded.” He continued, "the parts of the car, engine, and everything went up in the air. It was the most horrifying thing that I had ever seen."
When emergency responders arrived at the scene, small exploding battery cells which had detached from the main battery hampered the firefighters' rescue efforts. They were “firing off almost like projectiles around the rescuers,” according to Indianapolis Fire Department Battalion Chief Kevin Jones.
While drunk driving may certainly contribute to the cause of an accident, other factors such as other drivers and automobile defects can share the blame in certain cases. If you have been killed or have lost a loved one in a vehicle accident, call the Law Office of Jeremy Rosenthal today at (303) 825-2223 or contact us online and let us help you explore your options moving forward. You may be entitled to compensation.