UPDATE: The following story has been updated with new information from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Six people have been hospitalized, one in critical condition, after a stolen Tesla struck a power pole, a Honda Civic carrying five people and two other cars before slamming into the Congregation Kol Ami synagogue in West Hollywood early today and bursting into flames.
As of 7 a.m. today, the car remained wedged in the wall of Kol Ami. Another car, its top sheered off, sat in front of the Huxley apartment building.
A Los Angeles Police Department patrol vehicle also sustained minor damage in an earlier collision as it pursued the stolen vehicle, LAPD Pacific Division Sgt. Campbell told City News Service.
Campbell, who would not provide his first name, said two suspects stole the brand new Tesla from a Tesla service center at 5840 W. Centinela Ave. in Los Angeles early today. A report from the Sheriff’s Department at 2:30 p.m. today said that police officers pursued the vehicle at first but abandoned the chase while northbound on La Brea Boulevard near the 10 Freeway. The driver of the stolen Tesla raced it north along La Brea at speeds estimated as as much as 100 miles per hour before colliding with another car after crossing the intersection with Santa Monica Boulevard.
The car continued on La Brea until it collided with two other cars near the intersection of Lexington and La Brea. The Tesla was split in half, with its back section stuck between a wall at the synagogue and its front half in flames. The driver, ejected from the vehicle, at first was presumed dead but was resuscitated by paramedics on the way to the hospital. A videographer at the scene said he saw firefighters dragging the other suspect from the car as it burned.
Four of the five occupants of the other two vehicles hit by the Tesla were injured, one seriously, Campbell said.