Tesla vs Honda head on collision

Tesla vs Honda head on collision

This doesn't look good. Not sure that it is a model S. anyone have an update?

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Two people were killed and one person was injured in a head-on collision in Laguna Beach Tuesday.

Authorities say a Honda and a Tesla collided on Laguna Canyon Road at 6:43 a.m. Both fatal victims were in the Honda. The driver of the Tesla was rushed to a local hospital in unknown condition.

The cause of the accident has not yet been determined. Laguna Canyon Road was shut down between El Toro Road and State Route 73 due to the crash investigation.

DEVELOPING: We will add more details to this report as they become available.

TikiMan | 15. november 2013

I’m curious how the media will spin this news as a way to make the MS the culprit.

I can see FOX News now… “Is the Tesla: Model S a killer car?!?”

Bonlaw | 15. november 2013

I lived in the area 1968-1972. Laguna Canyon Rd has always been known as a dangerous route. I always try to avoid it, and never drive it at night.

TikiMan | 15. november 2013


Yes, I agree 100%! I live in the area, and know the very road well. It has always had a deadly reputation :-(

carlk | 15. november 2013


Killer car means a car that kills or means an awesome car?

It may not necessarily be a bad thing business-wise. There are a lot people out there with that "Hummer mentality" and would buy a car just for that image.

TikiMan | 15. november 2013


Yes, I agree... I was being sarcastic based on all the BS coming from the right-wing media, critics, and stock shorts, whom have been slamming the MS based on ignorant hyperbole...

gwstephens | 15. november 2013

Brutal tragedy, I lost many friends in the 70's and 80's to mountain racing in Eastern Kentucky. It never made sense the next day.

I doubt we will see many media stories heralding the safety of the Model S out of this though.

willardb | 12. januar 2014


NEWPORT BEACH – A doctor is scheduled to be arraigned Monday for killing two men in a high-speed crash while driving into oncoming traffic on the highway. Robert McFarland Pettis, 48, Laguna Beach, is charged with two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, one felony count of driving the wrong way on a divided highway causing death, and sentencing enhancements for inflicting great bodily harm. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of nine years and eight months in state prison. He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, at 8:30 a.m. in Department H-1, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach.

At approximately 6:40 a.m. on April 2, 2013, Pettis is accused of driving at a high rate of speed in his Tesla Model S northbound on State Route 133 in Laguna Beach. Pettis is accused of crossing over the double yellow lines into the southbound lanes and driving into oncoming traffic. He is accused of crashing head-on into a Honda Accord and killing 47-year-old driver Alberto Casique and his passenger, 38-year-old Armando Gonzalez.

Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene due to vehicular blunt force trauma as a result of the collision.

This case was investigated by the Laguna Beach Police Department. Deputy District Attorney Anna McIntire of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

Big T | 12. januar 2014

I don't understand our judicial system. In the follow up just posted, the Tesla driver was charged with causing the death of the other drivers. Two different charges for each with victim. But then there are "sentencing enhancements for inflicting great bodily harm." What? The charges were due to causing their death in a motor vehicle accident. Doesn't that imply great bodily harm?

If the Tesla driver was racing then throw the book at him. But these enhancements make no sense. Let's see, maybe we can add the enhancements of a hate crime because the victims were a different race.

redacted | 12. januar 2014

Presumably hate crime charges wouldn't stick unless it could be shown that he believed they were of some other race, whatever a race is, and deliberately caused the accident.

On the other hand, less than ten years for being such a [redacted] and killing two people because you're such an [redacted] seems pretty light, as he'll probably be out in five years.

Bighorn | 12. januar 2014

Don't really know the details of the accident, but is jail the best punishment in this case given his value to society as a surgeon?

Captain_Zap | 12. januar 2014

Wow. Thanks for sharing that Bighorn.

That really makes one think. Just about anyone wouldn't conclude that he would be a danger to society if he were free. I'd hate to see him take up space in prison that could be used for someone that had the potential to do harm.

I'd bet my life that he would to anything and everything not get in such a situation again and he would probably do everything in his power to educate others on how to avoid those circumstances as well.

The punishment proposed will not make things better for anyone involved. That isn't justice. It is revenge. I am sure that no one can punish him more than he has already punished himself. If I were judge for a day I'd have him do surgeries on those that do not have access to care or something like that. Two productive lives were already lost. What point is there in losing a third to a prison? | 12. januar 2014

The point is deterring other people with fast, expensive cars from acting similarly.

dramingly | 12. januar 2014

Are we really suggesting that people be treated differently based on their "value to society?"

carlk | 12. januar 2014

Guys justice is a system for the entire society not for any individual cases. It's not if you want to punish anyone it's you have to tell everyone to be responsible for their acts under the law or they will need to bear the consequences. It's just too costly to use two lives to learn a lesson as C_Z suggests would happen to this guy.

Captain_Zap | 12. januar 2014

The purpose of prisons is to protect society from harm and to provide an opportunity to rehabilitate. I think every sentence should take into consideration the individual's character and potential, or lack thereof. I think that recidivism is not an issue in this case.

PatT | 12. januar 2014

The arraignment was scheduled for November 18th. I wonder what the status of the case is now?

Car t man | 12. januar 2014

It is also wrong if someone's individual story is being made into an example.
That isn't justice either...

ian | 12. januar 2014

From the article linked above by Bighorn...

"It's important not to have an ego."

He probably should have kept that in mind behind the wheel too.

Something I'm certainly going to keep in mind as I've been guilty of when driving.

Big T | 12. januar 2014

If things are as the prosecutor alleges, he will need to keep working to pay the sizable civil judgement he has coming.

carlk | 12. januar 2014

C_Z I don't disagree with what you said about this individual but the grand scheme of the justice system is still to send unmistaken message that you're responsible for your action no matter who you are. Otherwise I would not want to travle the roads that respected citizens of the society often travel. Another example is did you see what was the result when the system was paricular lenient to some abusive priests or other authoritive persons years back? It just became ticktes for others to do the same. None of them repented.

carlk | 12. januar 2014

"he will need to keep working to pay the sizable civil judgement he has coming."

Anyone who does not have a good amount of umbrella coverage yet be sure to call your insurance agent first thing Monday morning.

DTsea | 12. januar 2014

He should go to prison same as anybody else if that is California law. Rule of law.

I dont care if he is a surgeon. Two people are dead. If he is found guilty he should lose his medical license too.... that kind of judgment has no place in an OR.

David N | 12. januar 2014

very sad. prayers for the families for the victims

Brian H | 12. januar 2014

As noted, that's actually a Nov 2013 update. Any more recent news?

redacted | 12. januar 2014

I don't know why the justice system shouldn't have a punitive aspect. I remember reading in Sherlock Holmes, "It's a hangin' job now," and if one thinks like that, the punitive aspect is indeed an effective deterrent. Those who say "He can't be punished more than he's punishing himself" would be pretty silly unless they actually knew the guy well, and if they do, then they're rather simplistic and I'm guessing haven't been in prison for 9 years.

Also, trying to make a legal system based on the value to society makes it a rich man's game.

I say, hang him! | 12. januar 2014

The Orange County Superior Court website doesn't have any information on the case beyond the November arraignment, or if it does I didn't find it. The good doctor (who, by the way, is presumed innocent) undoubtedly entered a not-guilty plea at the arraignment.

Tâm | 12. januar 2014

If a prisoner is talented, I don't see why jail house can't use that talent.

They can work as housekeepers, kitchen workers, newspaper editors...

Why can't medical doctor prisoners open shops to treat patients inhouse?

If not enough patients in jail then open it up to public:

Wise County Fairgrounds, Virginia: People waiting in the rain before sunrise for RAM (Remote Area Medical who used to deliver care in third world countries but now do it at home in USA):

Third World Clinic, First World Country

hakashaq | 31. januar 2014
pilotSteve | 31. januar 2014

Tragic, sober reminder to all of us to keep our egos in check. A terrible waste of lives, both the victims and now this doctors. Blessings to all that somehow this tragedy will contribute something helpful.

willardb | 01. juli 2014

Does anyone have a follow-up on the outcome of this case? Has it come to trial? I cannot find any recent information on it.

mathwhiz | 01. juli 2014

Yep, I've wondered too...

Last I heard, when Dr. Pettis entered his not guilty plea in Feb, the prelim trial hearing was then set for March 13, but must have been substantially delayed. I have heard exactly nothing about it, although I've not searched the OC Superior Court case list schedule. But surely it would have been in the paper if the prelim hearing had been conducted...

mathwhiz | 20. april 2015

FYI—After much delay, the criminal case of Robt M. Pettis (13HF3347) has been scheduled for jury trial to begin Aug 31, 2015 (Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach, CA courtroom C5). He faces two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and a single count of driving the wrong way on a divided highway causing injury or death, to which he pled not guilty on Oct 14, 2014. Dr. Pettis is currently released on bond.

TaoJones | 20. april 2015

Thanks for the update. That's quite the delay, although for all we know, the delays could, um, continue.

Wonder what the defendant has been doing for the past year plus (besides getting older).

Tesltoronto | 20. april 2015

Honda/Acura is my favorite ICE vehicle. MS is THE favorite car for me.
Sad that the two got into a collision.

Distracted driving (if that was the reason for the accident) is definitely a 'No No'. Easier said than done, though.

FelixMendeldog | 20. april 2015

@mcskks22: The title of your post “TESLA VS HONDA HEAD ON COLLISION” make this likely avoidable tragedy—which claimed the lives of two innocent people—sound little like a contest at demolition derby. I doubt that’s the connotation you intended to introduce this terrible news; but you alone can change it.

Haggy | 20. april 2015

I remember reading in Sherlock Holmes, "It's a hangin' job now," and if one thinks like that, the punitive aspect is indeed an effective deterrent.

The problem is that it isn't, unless you want to debate objectively studied facts. You simply don't have people who think "I'd gladly drive recklessly and wouldn't care if I kill somebody while I destroy my car, but since I might go to jail for it, I'll drive carefully." If that were the case, the road wouldn't be filled with inattentive drivers. Even in cases of murder, you don't find criminals who decide not to shoot somebody when they are robbing somebody because they live in a death penalty state. They don't expect to get caught. Punitive aspects of convictions for crimes do keep people from committing certain types of crime. If the IRS announced that they would never punish tax offenders, I would expect tax fraud to go up. On the other hand, there are plenty of people who throw garbage out of their car windows despite a potential $1000 fine.

People who drive recklessly don't expect to get into accidents. Paradoxically, they think it makes them good drivers and shows a sign of skill that they can manage to make such dangerous maneuvers. People who murder don't expect to be caught. Neither do people who litter. If people don't consider consequences to begin with, then changing the consequences won't be a deterrent. It's not a matter of what people have to lose. It's a matter of what they don't have to gain compared to what they might lose. Convincing people that they don't gain from their actions has the potential to stop things more than letting them know about a potential punishment that they never expect to affect them.

cpmarino | 20. april 2015

@Haggy: very well said, sir. Nobody who drives recklessly, including myself when I was much younger, ever considers the consequences so it doesn't much matter what they are. Having learned from my own youth, not that I was ever very reckless, I try to teach my kids "big picture" responsibility and try to get them to think beyond the moment.

Further, I've yet to see anything in this case that concludes exactly what happened. The Tesla driver is presumed innocent until proven otherwise. Not sure why it was ever speculated that it was a technical issue of some sort, absolutely no such evidence. We don't even know, conclusively, that there was speeding or racing involved. All that being said, just be careful. Put the phone down, ignore the web browser and just drive the car like your life and the lives of others depend on it, because in a split second, that may actually be the case.

Uncoiled | 21. april 2015

If anyone is curious, Dr. Pettis is apparently still practicing while awaiting trial. He gets mostly glowing reviews on Yelp.

Before anyone jumps on me, these are just the top results when you Google his name. It's not exactly hidden information.

To be honest, I'm a little surprised that there aren't some fake reviews mentioning the crash. Maybe Yelp takes those down.

He is legally presumed innocent, which means that the prosecutor has to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. We, on the other hand, are not obligated to presume anything. I'm not going to say he's guilty, but the facts publicized so far don't look too good for him.

hakashaq | 05. august 2015

Wow... when cases take this long and the accused is/if found guilty, I hope the judge keeps in mind the victim's family's suffering...28 months now and counting...

hakashaq | 05. august 2015

@ mathwhiz |
Thanks for your info. I worked with Alberto for many years. We have his picture up in the office at work. All the stories I've read say he worked for some landscaping job in Laguna. But he worked for us delivering newspapers at night as a second job 365 days a year. Yes 365...his birthday, when he was sick, Christmas morning, New Years morning, the night of 4th of July, Halloween night, Labor day, Memorial Day, Easter, Thanksgiving,...etc., you get the picture. The newspaper business never takes a day off. And Alberto came to work @ 2AM EVERYDAY.

hakashaq | 20. november 2015

9/21/15 was last hearing with another scheduled for 2/8/16...

mathwhiz | 26. februar 2016

UPDATE—It's been awhile, so for those following the case:

Dr. Pettis remains on bond release pending scheduled jury trial. Apparently the trial has been delayed a number of times by defense waiver of the statutory time requirement (right to a speedy trial). Proceedings are currently scheduled to begin June 20, 2016.

Bubba2000 | 26. februar 2016

Hard to tell what is the cause of the accident. Besides the unlikely mechanical malfunction, it could be driver error, fatigue or even related to his brain tumor. Since there was no alcohol or drugs involved, no prior, hx of community service, the sentence may not be max. Usually in a minimum security prision with time off, parole, etc.

A scary reminder not for me not to play music, use the phone,or play with the MS gizmos. Even NAV use is risky with 17" display. Another reason why we need autopilot with vehicle to vehicle and infrastructure com at level 4.

mathwhiz | 11. juli 2016

UPDATE—Jury trial has been postponed, again, to Nov. 29, 2016.

carlk | 11. juli 2016

Wow...that happened three years ago.

Warrentt | 13. juli 2016

The doctor who drive the Model S seem to have money hiring the best lawyer possible. Condolences to the two innocent victim in the Honda.