A shocking shooting incident was captured by a Tesla's on-board cameras in Houston, Texas, on September 25.
Tesla Model S owner Chris Harclerode was returning home from the airport at around 8:30 pm, when he says he noticed a Ford pickup truck driving aggressively behind him on Westpark Toll Road. Footage from the Tesla's rear camera shows the truck accelerating, changing lanes erratically and tailgating, coming within inches of hitting the EV's bumper.
Harclerode told ABC13 Houston that the Ford driver then pulled alongside him with the window open and a pistol pointed at his car. "At that point, I accelerated and tried to block him from getting to the side or in front of me so he couldn't open fire." As the Tesla owner tried to get off at Eldridge Parkway, the truck cut in front and the driver got out in a hurry. He then pulled his gun and opened fire multiple times at the Model S.
Fortunately, the Tesla owner was not hit, even though one of the bullets struck the passenger rear window. Miraculously, the bullet did not enter the cabin, with Harclerode attributing that luck to the window tint on his Tesla. "It struck the passenger rear window, the only thing that kept the bullet from my head was the window tint," he said.
The TeslaCam footage was submitted to the police and used to identify the suspect, 32-year old James Young. He was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Mind you, things may be more complicated than that. As always, there are two sides to any story, and it turns out Young's wife also filmed the incident from the passenger seat of the truck. The footage (posted below) clearly shows the Tesla repeatedly brake checking the Ford truck before the shooting started. The key here is whether that happened before or after Young allegedly pulled up alongside the Tesla with his gun pointed at it.
Young's lawyer submitted the footage to Harris County Precinct 5 Constable's Office, which turned over both videos to the Harris County District Attorney's Office. The lawyer demanded that the Tesla driver also face criminal charges on the grounds that both men bear some responsibility for what happened on September 25. The DA dismissed the request and provided the following motivation.
"It is never acceptable to settle a traffic dispute with a gun. Based on the evidence presented to prosecutors, the defendant was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly riddling the victim's car with bullets. Prosecutors determined there was insufficient evidence for additional criminal charges against anyone else in this matter."
Dane Schiller, spokesman for the District Attorney's Office
While no road rage incident can justify firing a gun, the Tesla driver's behaviour might have contributed to escalating the situation, which is never a good idea when involved in a road rage incident. Things could have gotten very bad for him if luck wasn't on his side.