Indianapolis family sues Tesla, says car defects caused crash victim to burn alive

Photo from scene of Tesla crash in November 2016

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – An Indianapolis family is suing Tesla.

Former FBI agent Kevin McCarthy and his employee Casey Speckman died in a fiery crash in McCarthy’s Tesla in November 2016.

The wrongful death lawsuit was filed in California yesterday by McCarthy’s wife.

It accuses Tesla of negligence, citing a series of alleged defects they say led to the wreck.

Witnesses told firefighters that the car was traveling at a high rate of speed before it crashed into a tree.

The impact of the crash disintegrated the car, leaving a debris field over 150 yards long.

The lawsuit says witnesses say McCarthy trying to escape the car post-crash, but he was unable to do so, causing him to literally burn alive.

According to Kevin Jones with the Indianapolis Fire Department, firefighters couldn’t reach the victims immediately because of several fires. They had to contend with the main fire centered on the Tesla itself as well as several smaller fires from the lithium ion batteries that power the car. Jones said some of those battery cells fired off “almost like projectiles” while crews tried to get the situation under control.

The crash victims were pulled from the car after nearly 20 minutes.

Speckman was pronounced dead at the scene. McCarthy died at Eskenazi Hospital.

Speckman was driving the vehicle at the time of the crash. Her blood-alcohol level tested at 0.21 percent, according to the IMPD accident report.

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