Palm Coast, FL - A 2018 Tesla, a 'Smart Car' was not so smart when it backed into a Flagler County Sheriff's Office (FCSO) patrol car after stopping for a traffic stop last Friday (March 19).
An FCSO deputy saw the Tesla traveling on the wrong side of the road after exiting the Wawa
gas station located on State Road 100 in Palm Coast. He initiated a traffic stop. The car complied and then backed into the patrol car.
The deputy discovered two juvenile females (14 and 15 years of age), one in the backseat and one in the front passenger seat. No one was in the driver’s seat. When asked who was operating the vehicle, they said the car was in autopilot mode when it backed into the patrol car. It was later determined that one of the juveniles was operating the vehicle before putting it on autopilot, causing the crash.
The teens told the deputy that they were traveling from Charleston, SC, to visit one of their fathers. When FCSO made contact with their parents, they found that the driver's mother was not aware that her daughter had left the state and thought she was at her grandmother's house.
While there was no damage to the FCSO vehicle, there was $300 in damage to the Tesla. The juvenile driver was given a citation for driving without a license.
“These kids are very lucky that no one was hurt and their actions didn’t have more serious
consequences,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “It doesn’t matter if you are driving a ‘smart car’, driving without a license is still against the law. I hope these kids have learned a valuable lesson and I am grateful that no one was hurt and only minimal damage occurred to their vehicle.”
The juveniles were transported to the Flagler County Palm Coast District 2 Office to meet with a DCF investigator and left in DCF’s custody.