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Tesla Is Sued for Whompy Wheels in Coral Gables Fatal Crash

A crash in Coral Gables involving a Tesla Model 3 killed two people on September 13, 2021. The strange circumstances made NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) investigate it with a team. Thanks to a lawsuit, we now know the victims’ names: they were Nicholas G. Garcia, 20, and Jazmin G. Alcala, 19. Garcia’s family says the crash was caused by a suspension failure.
Fatal crash victim sues Tesla for suspension failure that could have caused the incident 9 photos
Location Where 2021 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Crashed in Coral Gables2021 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Which Crashed in Coral Gables on September 13, 2021Tesla Model S Plaid FireTesla Suspension IssuesTesla Suspension IssuesAlhambra Circle, Where the Coral Gables Tesla Model 3 Crash HappenedFatal crash victim sues Tesla for suspension failure that could have caused the incidentFatal crash victim sues Tesla for suspension failure that could have caused the incident
That defect fits as "whompy wheels," an expression coined by Keith Leech. The British engineer based in Australia decided to investigate Tesla and discovered several crashes in which the suspension had suspiciously failed. Accused of being a short seller by Tesla fans, he became one to dare the EV maker to sue him and prove he was wrong. As far as we know, Tesla never did that.

Published by PlainSite, the lawsuit describes what Nicholas G. Garcia's family believes to have led to his death. They say the Model 3's suspension failed, leading the bottom of the vehicle to hit the roadway. That ignited the cells and made the EV swerve to the left, where it hit two trees in Alhambra Circle. The car exploded and burst into flames immediately after that. Garcia was the owner of the Model 3, and he was driving the vehicle. Jazmin G. Alcala was his passenger.

This was the exact description of the accident given by an eyewitness apart from one detail. Ian Linder Sheldon had a dashcam in his car when Garcia overtook him on Alhambra Circle minutes before the crash. He published a video showing everything on YouTube but took it down at the request of Garcia’s family.

In his tweets about the crash, Sheldon said that it was “the first documented Tesla accident that shows instant battery failure, explosion, and possibly (this is a guess) suspension failure, causing the car to veer left.” Sheldon stated that the vehicle hit a bump, which made it jump “several feet.” That bit is not included in the lawsuit.

NTSB’s investigation did not determine a suspension failure so far nor why the Model 3 turned left so abruptly. It only stated that the car accelerated to 90 mph in five seconds. The acceleration from 0 to 100% was verified in an instant before the crash.

It is here that the puzzle gets another crucial piece. According to the lawsuit, Garcia had already complained about suspension issues in his Model 3. This is why his family is also suing Ignacio Socorro, the service manager at the Coral Gables Tesla Service Center (3851 Bird Road, Miami, Florida).

On September 9, 2021, Garcia took his Model 3 there to check, “including, but not limited to, problems with the Subject Vehicle's controllability/steering, suspension, battery, and electronic system, and an ability to open the doors.” In other words, the Model 3 owner already had issues controlling his car, among many other problems. The lawsuit accuses Socorro of “wrongful death negligence.” Tesla is accused of the same thing. Strict liability is also brought up against the EV maker.

The lawsuit asked a jury to judge the case, where the family’s attorneys will present evidence that the cause of the crash was indeed a suspension failure. If they manage to prove that Garcia and Alcala died because Tesla delivered a car with suspension defects, that may cause a chain reaction with all accidents involving vehicles from the company. NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) may investigate the suspension recalls Tesla already performed a lot deeper. Summing it, it is a lawsuit to pay careful attention to.


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