‘The car exploded’: 911 calls reveal chilling details of what neighbors saw, heard after fiery Tesla crash near The Woodlands

The transcripts of the 911 calls during the deadly Tesla crash in The Woodlands were released
The transcripts of the 911 calls during the deadly Tesla crash in The Woodlands were released

The Woodlands – KPRC 2 obtained the 911 calls from the night a Tesla Model S crashed into a tree in the Carlton Woods subdivision in Spring near The Woodlands.

The incident happened the night of April 17. Reports said there were two passengers in the car. Officials continue the investigation as investigators and Tesla work to officially determine whether there was a driver behind the wheel during the time of the crash.

“We heard kind of a ‘boom,’ and we looked outside, and here it is, and the flames are getting larger and larger,” one caller said to a 911 dispatcher.

“It’s spreading rapidly! It’s across the street!” another caller said. “It is raining little pieces of fire on my driveway as we speak.”

“Fire dispatch. What is the address of your emergency?” was a phrase said plenty of times the night a Tesla Model S crashed into a tree.

“It is burning rapidly--it is a treed lot,” said one neighbor at the Carlton Woods subdivision.

Neighbors watched as trees caught fire not too far from their homes.

“It looks like a car crashed into a tree. The car’s exploded! And the trees are all on fire, and the car is on fire,” another neighbor told a dispatcher.

The fire grew larger.

“It’s getting quite large. Flames about 30 feet tall!” another caller said.

“It’s spreading rapidly. There are flames!” said one of the first callers.

“Do you see a vehicle involved?” asked a dispatcher.

“I do not see a vehicle,” replied one of the early callers.

Investigators said it turned out the caller was wrong. The Tesla Model S was burnt down.

KPRC 2 received the report, which indicated that crews had to think strategically on how to put out the fire, keeping the battery cool, and had to remove the doors of the vehicle to access the passengers.

“We heard kind of a ‘boom!’” another caller said.

The report from the crash indicated that “there was one occupant in the front passenger seat area and another in the rear driver side area.”

Dr. William Verner and his friend Everette Talbot both passed away in the crash. The report revealed and the family confirmed there were only be two people in the car, ending investigators’ search for a possible third person.

“Came off Hammock, you can see the tracks right there,” a neighbor told the 911 dispatchers.

While Pct 4 Constable Mark Hermann previously said there was likely no driver inside the Tesla. However, this has been a source of debate. On Tesla’s earnings call, Tesla officials said their data shows there likely was one.

A representative of the company continued the answer by saying Tesla had conducted a study with authorities over the past week to determine what led to the crash.

“What we have learned from that effort was that auto-steer did not and could not engage on the road condition, as it was designed,” the spokesman said.

The vehicle was traveling at about 30 mph before it was disengaged and brought to a stop when the driver’s seat belt was unbuckled, according to the spokesman. He said an examination of the vehicle also revealed details regarding who was possibly in the vehicle.

“The steering wheel was indeed deformed, leading to a likelihood that someone was in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash,” the company representative said during the call.

Tesla is still waiting to get data that was recorded onboard the vehicle, the spokesman said. That data is being retrieved by local authorities, according to the company.

The crash report also indicated that there was a “large debris field approximately 10 yards”

911 callers all described it as a harrowing night.

“A guy with a fire extinguisher tried to run out,” one caller said.

“Just tell him to stand back,” one dispatcher replied.

It was a night with sky-high flames, emotions, and a quest for answers.

The NHTSA and NTSB are continuing to investigate this crash.