FORT LAUDERDALE — Two handsome young men “as close as brothers” were supposed to be attending college in the fall. Instead, their families and classmates are mourning them after a fiery crash of an electric car on a curvy road on Fort Lauderdale beach.

Driver Barrett Riley, of Fort Lauderdale, and front-seat passenger Edgar Monserratt Martinez, of Aventura, both 18 and students at Pine Crest School, were trapped in the burning wreck and died horribly in Tuesday’s crash, police and fire officials said. Another passenger, also 18, was taken to a hospital.

The trio were traveling in a Tesla Model S sedan along Seabreeze Boulevard before it crashed into a concrete wall, police said.

Fort Lauderdale Police said the Tesla’s speed was believed to have been a factor in the crash, but they could not say where the fire began or its cause.

The Tesla does not use a gasoline-powered engine and is powered by a battery. The National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a team to Fort Lauderdale Wednesday to investigate, to “primarily focus on the emergency response in relation to the electric vehicle battery fire, including fire department activities and towing operations.”

The NTSB said it has a history of investigating “emerging transportation technologies” to “understand the impact” of such technologies when part of transportation accidents.

“The chemicals inside the battery cells can be corrosive and flammable,” said Karl Brauer, executive publisher for Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book. “Electric vehicles are not more prone to fire, but batteries can burn hotter fires that are harder to extinguish. Once there is a fire and you melt the battery pack, chemicals come out and when those chemicals come out, the fire can start, even without a spark.”

Tesla issued a statement about the fatal crash that it said involved a longtime customer.

“Our thoughts are with the families and friends affected by this tragedy,” the company said. “The family who owned the car has been a close friend of Tesla for many years, and this hits us particularly hard. We are working to establish the facts of the incident and offer our full cooperation to the local authorities.”

Tesla also said Wednesday it had not yet been able to retrieve logs from the vehicle, “but everything we have seen thus far indicates a very high-speed collision and that Autopilot was not engaged. Serious high-speed collisions can result in a fire, regardless of the type of car.”

The Autopilot feature allows the car to drive itself while measuring road conditions and traffic, but motorists must be prepared to take control of the car, the company said on its web site.

The auto manufacturer says that a gas car in the United States is five times more likely to experience a fire than a Tesla, and that its battery packs “are designed so that in the rare circumstance a fire occurs, it spreads much more slowly than in a gas-powered car.”

“This doesn’t change how devastating an event like this is for our customer’s family and friends, and our hearts are with them,” the company said.

Riley and Martinez were “best friends who were as close as brothers,” classmates said during a memorial Wednesday afternoon at Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, which Riley attended from Pre-K and where Martinez enrolled in sixth grade, the school said.

“These two young men were truly beloved and their deaths have left a hole in all of our hearts,” said Dana Markham, president of the school.

Back-seat passenger Alexander Berry, of Fort Lauderdale, was ejected from the car. Firefighters took him to Broward Health Medical Center, where he was in fair condition Wednesday, the hospital said.

The crash happened about 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, about a mile from the Riley family home.

Wendy Mascolo lives near the crash site and was jogging when, through her headphones, she heard what sounded like a gunshot.

Seeing three fire trucks and about five police cars, “I took off running and when I came upon the scene, the car was completely engulfed,” she said. “I could see the flames but I couldn’t really see the car, I could just see the outline of the car ... I couldn’t see that there were people in the car.”

Wreckage was strewn all over the boulevard; firefighters aimed hoses at the car.

Mascolo said she saw Berry sitting on the ground. He was scuffed up and was missing his shoes.

“He was sitting up, he was very shaken, he was very much in shock, staring straight ahead,” Mascolo said.

An ambulance crew took him away. Then she noticed a very upset older man whose car had been sideswiped in the crash. Mascolo said she prayed with him and helped him settle down. He was not injured, she said.

She then noticed two stunned boys standing nearby who said they were friends with the teens in the Tesla and had been following in a separate car when they witnessed the accident.

“They were standing on the sidewalk, looking directly at the car,” she said. “They were in shock. I didn’t see them cry until their parents got there.”

When firefighters covered the Tesla with a tarp after putting out the fire, “you could just see them crumble,” Mascolo said. “I prayed with them and stayed until their parents got there.”

She said she felt like she needed to stay there, and that praying with survivors “was really all I could do.”

Riley’s parents showed up first and police kept them away from the crash scene, she said.

At first, Mascolo said she could tell the parents didn’t know that the accident took young lives.

“They were distraught but I could tell they had not told them yet,” Mascolo said. “You could see that they were just worried and anxious. Afterward, their total countenance was of defeat.”

“I can’t even imagine,” Mascolo said, fighting tears. “I can’t imagine getting that phone call. My heart goes out to them. That was the worst day of their life and it’s never going to be the same after that.”

Riley, the eldest of seven children, was planning to attend Purdue University. At Pine Crest, he was on the crew and tennis teams, and with Martinez loved boating and fishing with their friends. Martinez was accepted at Babson College. He was so good at finance he shared investment advice with his teachers, the school said.

Final exams and AP tests for Pine Crest upper grade students that were scheduled for this week were canceled, and more than a dozen counselors were provided to meet with students and staff, the school said.

Berry, the crash survivor, attended Westminster Academy in Fort Lauderdale. He had just completed his freshman year at the University of Florida, where he is majoring in engineering, records show.

The Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office performed autopsies on Wednesday and the cause and manner of the deaths still were being determined.

NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said in a news release that his agency has a long history “of investigating emerging transportation technologies, such as lithium ion battery fires in commercial aviation, as well as a fire involving the lithium ion battery in a Chevrolet Volt in collaboration with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.”

In addition, he said the NTSB is currently investigating a fire involving the transportation of hydrogen gas for fuel-cell vehicles.

“The goal of these investigations is to understand the impact of these emerging transportation technologies when they are part of a transportation accident.”

Tesla produced an emergency responder guide for the 2014 Model S that describes precautions and procedures when assisting victims at accident scenes. It warns against “cutting, crushing or touching high voltage components,” that may be energized.

The company in 2014 strengthened the Tesla’s battery shields after road debris caused two accidents in the United States and one in Mexico, according to a USA Today report. The foreign objects damaged the cars’ battery packs and resulted in fires. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration ended a fire probe in the wake of the company’s changes.

“In this case, Tesla’s revision of vehicle ride height and addition of increased underbody protection should reduce both the frequency of underbody strikes and the resultant fire risk,” the agency wrote on its website.

In a 2014 blog post, Tesla chairman and co-founder Elon Musk noted that drivers involved in those accidents had walked away without injury.

Since then, there have been other reports of Tesla fires related to accidents, although they appear to have been few in number. Last year, for example, a Tesla exploded in Indianapolis after a crash that killed a young woman and her boss, according to NBC News. When firefighters arrived at the scene, they reported individual batteries from the pack popping from the car and exploding.


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Elon Musk exists because he bribed DNC politicians and Senators Feinstein, Reid, Boxer, Harris, Clinton and Pelosi to give him free taxpayer cash and government resources from the Dept. of Energy and the Calif treasury. DOE has been covering-up organized crime activities at DOE in which DOE funds are being used as a slush-fund to pay off DNC campaign financiers and to pay for CIA/GPS Fusion-Class attacks on Silicon Valley business competitors of those DNC campaign financiers who DOE staff share stock market holdings with. Elon Musk is a criminal, a mobster, an asshole, a bald fake-hair wearing, plastic surgery-addicted, douchebag, woman-abusing, sex addicted, tax evader. Musk exploits poor people and child slaves in the Congo and Afghanistan to mine his lithium and Cobalt. Musk spends billions per year to hire Russian trolls, fake blogger fan-boys and buy fake news self-aggrandizement articles about himself. Musk thinks he is the 'Jesus' of Silicon Valley. Fake News manipulator Google is run by Larry Page and Larry is Musk's investor and bromance butt buddy. Musk uses massive numbers of shell companies and trust funds to self-deal, evade the law and hide his bribes and stock market insider trading. A huge number of Tesla drivers have been killed; pedestrians and oncoming drivers have also been killed, and Musk covers it up. The DNC and the MSM refuse to allow any articles about Musk's crimes to be printed because they benefit from Musk's crimes. Musk has been professionally diagnosed as a 'psychotic narcissist.'A 'Silicon Valley Mafia; cartel of frat boy sociopath venture capitalists like Steve Jurvetson, Tim Draper, Eric Schmidt, et al; threaten those who do not support the cult of Tesla or their political candidates. In EVERY blog that you read that mentions 'Musk', at least 1/3 of the comments have been placed their by Musk's paid shills. Musk holds the record for getting sued for fraud by his investors, wives, former partners, employees, suppliers and co-founders. Elon Musk has gone out of his way to hire hundreds of ex-CIA staff and assign them to "dirty tricks teams" to attack his competitors and elected officials who Musk hates. Musk never founded his companies. Musk's "Starlink" satellites are domestic spy and political manipulation tools - never get your internet from one. Musk stole Tesla in a hostile ownership take-over from Marty the true inventor of the Tesla. The same kind of EMF radiation proven to cause cancer from cell phones exists in massive amounts in a Tesla. Musk can't fix a car or build a rocket and has almost no mechanical skills. If you pull a report of every VIN# of every Tesla ever built and cross reference that with insurance, repair and lawsuit records you will find that the "per volume" fire, crash, death and defect rate is THE WORST of any car maker in history! Musk is a lying con artist and partners with Goldman Sachs to rig the stock market. Sachs has a dedicated team of 18 men who rig stocks and valuation bumps for Musk. Over 1000 witnesses can prove every one of those claims in any live televised Congressional hearing! Senators Dianne Feinstein, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris and their associates own the stock in Tesla Motors and/or it's suppliers and mining companies. That is why they criminally help cover-up investigations of Tesla! All of this was reported, in writing, to James Comey, Patricia Rich and David Johnson at the FBI.

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