The incident occurred during the early hours of November 3 when the 2015 Model S collided with a tree and a parking garage located near 16th and Illinois streets. The debris trail spanned the length of a football field, and its scope was exacerbated due to the fact that lithium ion batteries were used in the vehicle as they are known to run very hot. According to firefighters from the Indianapolis Fire Department, the battery cells exploded, and this delayed their efforts in getting to the occupants of the vehicle.
The deaths of the two occupants of the Tesla were the result of blunt force trauma due to the crash. Both deaths were ruled accidental. Currently, it is unknown the speed at which the vehicle was traveling. However, due to the length of the debris field, it is estimated that they were traveling at a high rate of speed. Investigators continue to work to determine the speed at time of impact.
It required “copious amounts of water” in order to get the fire under control. Because of the battery cell ignitions, there were multiple fires which firefighters were faced with controlling upon arriving at the scene of the crash.