The City of Nitro, near Charleston, bought the Tesla Model 3 for about $40,000 — a little more than its other cruisers cost — and then spent another $10,000 to outfit it with lights, sirens and other equipment a police car needs, CNN affiliate WCHS reported.
In a post on Facebook, the department said it decided to buy the Tesla after doing a lot of research, having discussions with Tesla and talking with an Indiana police department that has five Model 3s in its fleet and plans to buy more.
“We believe time will show that through the fuel savings, maintenance cost and resale value, that this car will be cost-neutral to the citizens of Nitro,” Mayor Dave Casebolt told WCHS.
He told WCHS the car can go 500 miles on $18 worth of electricity, while their other police cruisers need about $90 in fuel to cover the same distance.
“The savings, we figure, will be in the neighborhood of $5,000 a year per vehicle,” Police Chief Chris Fleming told WCHS.
The Nitro Police Department has installed a Tesla charging station outside the building and department policy is to keep the vehicle charged to at least 50% at all times, so it’s always ready to patrol.
The city has also purchased two other patrol cars this year, according to its Facebook post — Ford Interceptor Hybrid and a regular Ford Interceptor.
It plans to compare the three vehicles for a year and decide which one provides the best cost benefit.
A Tesla Model 3 struck a Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) trooper’s vehicle on Saturday just weeks after the NHTSA established an investigation into the semi-autonomous driving functionality. The driver and FHP confirmed the vehicle was operating on Autopilot.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, a 27-year old was driving his Model 3 westbound on Interstate 4 near Orlando at around 5 a.m. eastern time on Saturday morning when the vehicle struck a Highway Patrol vehicle that was stopped on the side of the road to assist a disabled automobile on the shoulder.
The driver stated that the vehicle was operating on Autopilot, according to FHP and ABC affiliate WFTV9. The driver of the Tesla, along with the owner of the disabled vehicle, had minor injuries. The Trooper on the scene was unhurt.
Happening now: Orange County. Trooper stopped to help a disabled motorist on I-4. When Tesla driving on “auto” mode struck the patrol car. Trooper was outside of car and extremely lucky to have not been struck. #moveover. WB lanes of I-4 remain block as scene is being cleared. pic.twitter.com/w9N7cE4bAR
Interestingly, the accident occurred just weeks after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into Tesla Autopilot. The agency told Teslarati that it would investigate eleven separate instances of accidents that occurred under Autopilot operation. However, several of the accidents in the investigation were ultimately not the fault of the system itself and was actually a result of gross negligence by the driver. Two of the eleven incidents being examined were caused by the driver being intoxicated. Another was caused by a driver with a suspended license, and four were the result of incorrect Autopilot use.
NHTSA launches Tesla Autopilot investigation over crashes with emergency vehicles
Because of its unfamiliar nature to many people, Autopilot receives a bad reputation and is often misrepresented and misunderstood by media and critics. Tesla Autopilot is not a fully autonomous driving functionality and is standard with every Tesla from 2017 or later. Tesla has never indicated that Autopilot is a replacement for human drivers and has said on numerous occasions that the system must be used while the driver is fully attentive and still focused on the road. To operate Autopilot in a vehicle, the driver’s hands must be on the wheel at all times in case of a needed intervention, and the wheel has sensors that confirm the driver is still maintaining ultimate control of the vehicle.
While the driver told FHP that the vehicle was operating under Autopilot, it is still the responsibility of the driver to maintain control of the vehicle. Frequently, the Autopilot and Full Self-Driving suites are abused by some. When these irresponsible acts of operation result in an accident or injury, Tesla takes the blame and not the driver. Unfortunately, this is not an accurate depiction of how safe Autopilot actually is.
A look back at Coronavirus coverage at the Shore and around the state from April 16 to April 29.
Asbury Park Press
SHIP BOTTOM – Two Pennsylvania teens who were laying on the 26th Street beach were struck by a borough beach patrol vehicle on Saturday afternoon, police said.
The girls — a 15-year-old and 14-year-old from Berks County, Pennsylvania — were airlifted to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune where they were treated for their injuries and later released from the regional trauma center to their families, police said.
The driver, John Purdon, 22, of Barnegat, was charged with reckless driving, police said.
The accident took place about 1:08 p.m. Saturday, police said.
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A Ship Bottom Beach Patrol vehicle struck a pair of teenage girls from Pennsylvania who were laying on the New Jersey beach a little after 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, local authorities said on Facebook. The incident occurred at the 26th Street Beach of the Ocean County town, which is located on Long Beach Island.
The girls’ names were not provided, but Ship Bottom police said that the victims were a 14-year-old female from Fleetwood, Berks County and a 15-year-old female from Leestwood. The two girls were taken to Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune City, Monmouth County where they were treated and eventually released from the hospital.
The driver of the vehicle, 22-year-old John Purdon of Barnegat, Ocean County, was charged with reckless driving pending a court date.
The town also issued a statement on its Facebook page on Saturday to send well wishes to the two female victims and their families.
Ship Bottom’s beaches are only open to residents and property owners of the town for walking or jogging purposes due to the coronavirus pandemic. Many other Jersey Shore towns have taken similar measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 across the region.
Residents and property owners of the town were given “disaster reentry” placards that must be shown to local authorities when asked, according to the Associated Press. It’s unclear if the girls had a placard with them while on the beach.
An officer with the Michigan City (IN) Police Department was injured when his patrol vehicle was struck by another motorist, causing both cars to leave the roadway on Thursday afternoon.
The agency posted on Facebook, “Detective Scott Combs, the driver of the police vehicle, was transported to an area hospital via ambulance with non-life-threatening injuries.
The driver of the civilian vehicle involved in the collision—identified as 35-year-old Michael Johnson—was uninjured.
Based on the preliminary investigation, Detective Combs was on duty traveling westbound on Tremont Street. Detective Combs was not responding to any calls and did not have his police lights or siren activated. While approaching an intersection Johnson failed to stop for the stop sign posted there and collided with Combs’ police SUV, police say.
Detective Combs is a seven-year veteran of the Michigan City Police Department and is currently assigned as the School Resource Officer for the MCAS middle schools.