“Driving a Tesla” Cited as Single and Only Factor in Potential 40 Year Jail Sentence for Vehicular Homicide

A horrible homicide case in Florida has a very important buried lede. The prosecution say the accused perpetrator didn’t have motive, he wasn’t under any influence of anything, he just unfortunately decided to drive a Tesla. That’s literally the whole case. He stepped into the Tesla and it killed two people. Now he faces up to a 40 year jail sentence after pleading guilty.

Mongan was driving a friend’s Tesla with four passengers inside at about 10:15 p.m. on Sept. 3, 2021, when he accelerated on Manning Road, Florida Highway Patrol troopers said. The road has a speed limit of 30 mph. Mongan ran past a stop sign at a T intersection with Hermosa Drive and launched off a grassy embankment, crashing [at 116 mph] through a vinyl fence and into a home at 1498 Caird Way. One of the passengers, Travis Meisman of Odessa, was killed. Meisman owned the Tesla that Mongan was driving. […] The crash also killed a 69-year-old woman inside the home, Donna Rein, and her dog, Lily. […] Mongan had not been drinking or doing drugs prior to the crash and was not intoxicated at the time, according to Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bruce Bartlett. “I can’t say I’ve ever encountered this type of situation,” said Bartlett, who has been a prosecutor for more than 40 years. “Usually, on the part of the defendant, he’s intoxicated, on drugs or something … and they then drive drunk and hit and kill somebody,” Bartlett said. “It’s kind of like you assume the risk.” […] The state attorney said Mongan was not acting out of maliciousness, but still carries criminal responsibility for the crash. “The guy is very remorseful…” Bartlett said.

It was a Tesla Model S Plaid, which has been heavily marketed as 1,000 hp tuned to go 0-60 in just 2 seconds with a distance of about 100 feet. It’s pretty easy to see how Mongan, without being intoxicated by anything other than Tesla advertising, punched the accelerator and killed Meisman within seconds.

View of the T intersection in 2020. Source: Google Maps
View of the T intersection in 2022. Source: Google Maps

You would think having more people inside a Tesla would mean there’s some kind of moderation or lowered risk. Also you’d think Meisman telling Mongan to drive his car would bring moderation as well. Yet in Tesla fatalities I’m noticing a very prominent “showboat” factor, which means something incredibly unsafe and stupid is done in relation to public messaging by the Tesla CEO (e.g. accelerate as rapidly as possible on public roads, go to sleep on public roads).

Incidentally, a 116 mph crash in a 30 mph zone involving a Florida home also was big 2018 news, after parents had purchased a Tesla for their son based on its advertised safety.

…Barrett Riley hit triple digit speeds at 6:46 p.m. May 8, 2018, with Monserratt in the front passenger seat and another teen in a back seat. He blew through the 1300 block of Fort Lauderdale’s Seabreeze Boulevard, a 30-mph zone approaching a curve with a 25-mph advised speed. Barrett Riley lost control of the Tesla, which smacked the wall in front of a home twice, burst into flames and crashed into a light pole across the street. He was going 116 mph three seconds before impact.

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