After viral Tesla crash, residents of Echo Park left to pick up the pieces

For the internet, the black Tesla that jumped over the Baxter Street hill this weekend was a viral moment to behold.

But for musician Jordan Hook, it was just the car that hit his Subaru.

Just after midnight Sunday, the driver driving a 2018 Tesla S-BLM launched down the steep hill in Echo Park and crashed into several trash cans and two cars, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The Tesla only flew for a few seconds, but its maiden flight went viral. The Tesla landed on its nose and skidded into the back of Hook’s light blue 2009 Subaru Forester.

The Tesla pushed Hook’s Subaru several feet.

“It’s a little more than embarrassing,” Hook said in front of his broken-down Subaru Monday morning. The tires were sitting at an unnatural angle and one was deflated.

“The car won’t start and the steering column is impacted, but I won’t know the full extent of the damage until I get someone to examine it,” Hook said. “I can’t drive it. I don’t know how it all happened. I mean, I know, but it’s been so much to take in.

Jonathan Sutak, Hook’s neighbor, said he noticed people setting up on Baxter Street before the jump. He said one of the Tesla’s headlights landed near his front door.

“We all got out after the crash and saw people getting out of the Tesla,” Sutak said. The LAPD did not say how many people were in the car, but videos of the crash showed several people and a cat in the car during the crash.

Hook, 37, said he spent more than $4,500 on a new engine last month. Hook, who has lived on Baxter Street for more than 3½ years, said he relies on his car to take him to concerts.

Hook said an LAPD officer explained to him shortly after the crash that there was not much he could do because the Tesla driver only caused property damage. But by Sunday night the collision had gone viral and more attention was being paid to the wreckage. Police gave Hook more information about their investigation later that day.

“They told me they were going to catch the guy. At first the police said there was not much they could do, but now it’s completely reversed,” Hook said. “I guess it’s because of the power of the community talking about all of this.”

Det. LAPD. Calvin Dehesa said the Tesla was rented from an Enterprise Rent-A-Car, but it’s unclear whether the person who rented the car was behind the wheel when it took off.

“We have no ID (of the driver) at this time,” Dehesa said Monday morning. “We still need to speak to the person who rented the car.”

Currently, the driver behind the stunt is facing a misdemeanor misdemeanor hit-and-run. The LAPD has awarded a $1,000 reward to anyone who provides information about the identity, arrest and conviction of the Tesla driver, who abandoned the car.

“We’re just lucky he didn’t kill himself,” Dehesa said. “We want to make sure no one tries to replicate that.”

Hook said that less than a day after Tesla’s jump, he heard someone tried to jump over the Baxter Street hill on a dirt bike. In 2020, a YouTube influencer uploaded a video of his Tesla SUV jumping over the same intersection and the hill with its 32% incline. The hill is the bane of any driver unlucky enough to be directed to the street by a driving app.

Before Sunday’s wreck, the unidentified Tesla driver attended a Tesla meetup hosted by famed car enthusiast Alex Choi on Saturday, according to a video uploaded to his YouTube channel.

In his video, Choi was among a group of people at the intersection of North Alvarado and Baxter streets when the Tesla raced up the hill at high speed before launching over the crest of the hill and crashing into the hill. soar in the air.

“He landed on the front bumper, just skidded down the street,” Choi recounted in his video. “I don’t know anyone who’s in that car.”

Choi also said there were several people in the Tesla during the sinking. He said the cat was fine afterwards.

. Throughout a video that oscillates between humor and deadly seriousness, Choi tells his viewers not to try to duplicate the stunt.

“I never want to see anyone die in front of me,” Choi said in the video. “This is my worst living nightmare. Think twice before you do anything stupid. Don’t let any of us, any YouTube influencers like me become motivation for you guys.

Choi did not respond to requests for comment.

After the other Tesla drivers fled Baxter Street, Choi returned to the scene and gave an update on the damage to Hook’s Subaru. Choi held up his cellphone’s flashlight and said, “The damage isn’t that bad.”

Hook disagrees and says he got out of a car. He’s a little stunned by the outpouring of support and vitriol he’s received after posting a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to fix his car.

“I’m not sure of the process. People were wondering if the damage was as bad as I said it was,” Hook said. “It’s a bit difficult to navigate.”

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the LAPD at (213)-833-3713.

Los Angeles Times

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