‘He could have been here. He could have been with us,’ says wife
A father “could have been saved” from his crashed Tesla Model S but police were unable to get the electric doors open following a crash, a lawsuit has alleged.
Omar Awan died when his Tesla vehicle crashed in Florida’s Broward County in February 2019, and police were unable to rescue him from the car.
According to a lawsuit filed by his wife Liliana, Tesla was to blame for a “defective” design on the Model S, which allegedly stopped police and first responders from rescuing her husband.
While Tesla denies the claims, the police report filed by an officer for the Davie Police Department who investigated the crash also points to a failure with the door handles.
The officer told NBC 6 that although the Model S’ streamlined doors are supposed to automatically come out “in the event of a crash and do reliably in minor to moderate crashes, they did not in this crash”.
“The handles … are electronic and would not operate if power is abruptly cut in the vehicle,” the report, seen by the news outlet, added. Nor were officers able to break a window because of the flames, the report said.
“There is a mechanical back-up in place that can only be accessed from the inside of the vehicle, which it’s why the company gives training to first responders to break the window and open the vehicle from the inside,” added the report.
A medical examiner later ruled that Awan died of smoke inhalation and burns, rather than the crash which led to him being trapped inside his Tesla.
“He could have been saved. He could have been here. He could have been with us, with his children,” his wife said in an interview this week. “I want people, I want to shake them and say, ‘Listen, these futuristic cars have benefits but they also have high, high risks and yes, death is one of them”.
According to court filings in the case, Tesla said Awan was impaired by an alcohol level above the legal limit, according to a police toxicology report, and denied the allegations of a “defective” design.
The Independent has approached Tesla for further comment.