Mary McCormack, who played Deputy National Security Adviser Kate Harper on The West Wing, shared a video online of her husband’s Tesla Model S as it went up in flames while waiting in traffic in California. The actress posted the clip, which shows flames shooting out from under her husband’s car, on Twitter.
“@Tesla This is what happened to my husband and his car today,” she captioned the post. “No accident, out of the blue, in traffic on Santa Monica Blvd. Thank you to the kind couple who flagged him down and told him to pull over. And thank god my three little girls weren’t in the car with him.” McCormack, 49, who is married to British director Michael Morris, said her husband’s car was not self-driving and was “barely moving in traffic” when it caught fire.
A Tesla spokesperson told People Magazine, “We offer our support to local authorities and are glad our customer is safe. This is an extraordinarily unusual occurrence, and we are investigating the incident to find out what happened.”
Tesla added that fires may occur, but insisted that their vehicles are safer than gas engine cars. The fire was apparently the result of a faulty battery pack. According to Lt. William Nash in West Hollywood, after deputies saw smoke coming from the car and then flames, they contacted firefighters who quickly extinguished the fire.
There have also been other disturbing incidents involving Tesla cars, including a fatal accident in Mountain View, California, which raised doubts about the car’s self-driving system. In March, Walter Huang was driving to work in a Tesla Model X that was set on autopilot. The vehicle collided with a safety barrier on 101 in Mountain View, resulting in Huang’s death. In response to the incident, Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated, “The system worked as described, which is, it’s a hands-on system. It is not a self-driving system.”
The attorney Mark Fong believes the autopilot was defective. “We believe that if this Autopilot had not been on, this accident would not have happened,” he said. “Its sensors misread the painted lane lines on the road, and it’s braking system failed to detect a stationary object ahead.”
Huang’s wife said her husband had already complained to Telsa that the SUV had malfunctioned before at that same location in Mountain View.
“It’s important to emphasize it will never be perfect,” Musk said of the autopilot feature. “Nothing in the real world is perfect. But I do think that long-term it can reduce accidents by a factor of ten. So there are ten fewer fatalities and tragedies and serious injuries, and that’s a really huge difference.”
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