In the third fatal crash involving a Tesla Model S in just the last two weeks, after a "horrific" Ft. Lauderdale crash killed two teens who were trapped in the burning sarcophagus after the car's batteries exploded, and just days after another model S also burned to a crisp also tragically trapping its driver on a highway in Switzerland, a 34-year-old man was killed when his Tesla Model S drove into a San Francisco-area pond Sunday night and his body ended up being recovered early Monday morning; the fatal crash closed a portion of Crow Canyon Road in Castro Valley, according to the California Highway Patrol.
CHP: Adult man was behind wheel of #Tesla Model S sedan when he lost control, broke through fence and landed in pond along Crow Canyon Road. No one else in car besides driver. No ID yet. #AlamedaCounty @nbcbayarea pic.twitter.com/DCm4YONxrX— Bob Redell (@BobNBC) May 21, 2018
The driver of a Tesla broke through a white fence, went up an embankment, into the air, through a tall wooden sign and 65’ into a pond. Divers found his body overnight. #AlamedaCounty @nbcbayarea pic.twitter.com/8nH4ZC3Hzr— Bob Redell (@BobNBC) May 21, 2018
Coroner has identified Tesla driver as Keith Leung, a 34 yo man from Danville. A business card found at the scene indicates he was a freelance musician who played bassoon. pic.twitter.com/VSnTTZceew— Bob Redell (@BobNBC) May 21, 2018
Based on preliminary evidence, the driver, who has been identified as Danville resident Keith Leung, appeared to veer from Crow Canyon Road just south of Bollinger Canyon Road, smash through a fence and crash into the pond, authorities said. Leung's body and the car were pulled from the water early Monday.
"The vehicle was severly damaged...This is something again that is very tragic," CHP Officer Daniel Jacowitz said according to NBC. "The driver really didn't stand a chance in a way on this. It's sad. It really is."
The pond, site of the deadly crash, is shown below:
A property owner heard the Tesla, driving northbound on Crow Canyon Road, just before 8 p.m. on Sunday, according to CHP Officer Daniel Jacowitz. He called 911 and when he came outside he saw damage to his fence and tire tracks leading up to the pond.
One man is dead after he crashes his Tesla Model S through a fence off Crow Canyon Road and it submerged in a pond. No other vehicles suspected as being involved. - CHP Castro Valley. .@KTVU pic.twitter.com/udpgBio3D4— Leigh Martinez (@LeighMartinezTV) May 21, 2018
Nine members of the Alameda County Sheriff’s rescue team went into the pond about 10 p.m. and found the driver, still sitting upright in the driver's seat, Jacowitz said. He was pulled out and declared dead at the scene about 5:30 a.m. "It's really tragic," Jacowitz said.
However, CHP officers did acknowledge that this stretch of road is a problem area and they conduct enforcement there on a regular basis. The speed limit ranges from 35 mph to 55 mph and officers say they have cited people for going as fast as 75 mph.
Neighbors have regularly complained that they can’t get out of their drive ways because vehicle are driving so fast.
Jacowitz added that Leung would have had to have been driving more than posted speed limit of 35 mph to have gone airborne and fly the distance it did.
“The vehicle was submerged...trees in the water made it difficult to tow it out,” said CHP Sgt. Michael Novosel.
Of course, Tesla did not respond to a request for comment by KTVU on Monday as the company will first issue a press release explaining just how safe the auto pilot makes its increasingly deadly crashes a thing of the past.
NHTSA said that "gathering information" on the fatal pond crash "and will take action as appropriate."
.@NHTSAgov says it is "gathering information" on fatal California Tesla crash into pond "and will take action as appropriate"— David Shepardson (@davidshepardson) May 21, 2018
It is not clear if alcohol or drugs played a role in the crash. It is also unclear if Leung was speeding or if autopilot features were engaged at the time of the crash. As the aerial photo of the crash site shows, there are no road markings on the right side of the road below, which is probably why the autopilot got confused, lost control and headed straight into the pond.