By on June 19, 2013

Picture courtesy the author.

The writing-about-writing crowd is abuzz with discussion about the rather unusual death of Buzzfeed/RollingStone/Gawker writer Michael Hastings. Mr. Hastings, whose name is never mentioned in the press without the immediate mention that he was “the fearless journalist whose reporting brought down the career of General Stanley McChrystal”, died in a single-car accident in Los Angeles yesterday morning. This in and of itself is not unusual, but the circumstances of the crash and its aftermath won’t do anything to quiet the conspiracy theorists who are already claiming that the military-industrial complex found a way to cap the guy.

The definitive video of the incident can be found here. It features everything you’d want in a crash story, including:

  • The ejected motor and transmission (seen above)
  • Video of the car burning with the fury of a thousand suns
  • A man holding a goat in his arms and stroking it to keep calm as someone else discusses the incident
  • The mention of Mercedes-Benz

That last bit is the critical part. Mercedes-Benz USA is no doubt sweating bullets over this one. An eyewitness report says that Mr. Hastings was driving at an excessive rate of speed down a suburban street when his car “suddenly jackknifed” and hit a tree “with the force of a bomb”. The Benzo, which by the wheels and quarter-panel appears to be the relatively prosaic but cheerfully stylish C250 four-cylinder turbo coupe, proceeded to throw its powertrain out of the engine bay, immediately catch fire in a manner typically reserved for episodes of “Miami Vice”, and burn its driver until said driver was charred beyond recognition.

This isn’t good. The official ad copy for the C-Coupe states

Like every Mercedes-Benz coupe, it wraps four sport seats and passion for the road in sleek style. And like every C-Class, it’s a paragon of engineering virtue and extraordinary value. Put it together, and it’s like nothing else.

Nowhere in there does it say anything about “then this sucker is going to jackknife out of control and char you like a steak ordered by a high-school dropout at Ponderosa”. No wonder the guy in the video is stroking his goat to keep it calm. If I owned a C250 I’d be outside staring at the thing wondering if it was safe to drive it at 100mph in a suburb.

Mr. Hastings has been eulogized by his editor at Buzzfeed in an article called Missing Michael Hastings, which unfortunately makes me think of Missing Missy. In the piece, Ben Smith tells us that Michael looked in clothes and that he was handsome and that he worked out. He also lauds Mr. Hastings for writing Valerie Jarett Versus The Haters, which opens with

Valerie Jarrett is one of the most influential women in America. Protective, fearless, dedicated: the controversial White House figure and Chicago titan is now yolo’ing on the homestretch to get her “little brother” re-elected.

Reading that article at one AM with a bottle glass of Ketel One in hand makes me think that a) I’ve been too hard on automotive journalists and b) half of the TTAC staff could make big money in political writing. That’s because only half of us say stuff like “yolo” and “swag”.

But I’m not here to speak ill of the dead. I’m here to state that I’ve seen dozens of cars hit walls and stuff at high speeds and the number of them that I have observed to eject their powertrains and immediately catch massive fire is, um, ah, zero. Modern cars are very good at not catching fire in accidents. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which is an evolutionary design from a company known for sweating the safety details over and above the Euro NCAP requirements, should be leading the pack in the not-catching-on-fire category.

Nor is the C-Class known for sudden veering out of control into trees and whatnot. My father’s been running a C350 of that generation around Hilton Head for a while and if anybody could make a C-Class veer into a palm tree without warning it would be him. If you happen to see my father on an airplane somewhere, please don’t tell him I said that, and also don’t tell him that I always call the C-Class the “Cheap-Class”. Thanks.

Mr. Hastings’ aggressively Democrat-friendly storytelling has the Internet already considering the idea that his death was engineered somehow. I can’t say it’s totally unlikely. As noted above, the reported (and videotaped) behavior of the C250 was not in line with what we’d expect. On the other hand, surely it’s expected that a respected, mature writer on non-automotive topics won’t be barreling through a suburb so fast that any tree he hits will cause his car to burst into flames, right? We’ll keep an eye on this to see what, if anything, develops.

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110 Comments on “Famed Non-Automotive Journalist Michael Hastings Turns A C250 Into A “Bomb”...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Payback’s a bitch.

    • 0 avatar
      bachewy

      For what? Yeah I know all about McCrystal but the dumbazz general shouldn’t have expressed himself in the presence of a journalist.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        You’re not making friends going against the powers that be.

        Could be coincidence, could be a technical problem with the Merc drivetrain, but its def not normal when engines fly out of cars in a crash.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Hard enough crash and they sure do. I have posted on here previously about the big-rig annihilating a pickup right in front of me on the interstate – the engine from the pickup went about 100 yards down the road. Compared to what I have seen of older cars hitting trees, the Mercedes held up remarkably well. The fire is unfortunate, but who knows – he could have had a Gerry can of gas for his lawnmower in the trunk or something. But really, sideways into a tree and all bets are off.

          Motor mounts in modern cars are designed to shear off. Typically, in a front end collision the motor will go UNDER the passenger cabin, but in a sideways crash like this, right out of the car and down the road is the result.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’ve heard this sort of thing before but I haven’t really witnessed any serious accidents so my experience is nil on the subject and thus do not have a deeper perspective as you do from your funeral home gig.

    • 0 avatar
      Phil Perspective

      Payback for what, chief?

    • 0 avatar
      LuciferV8

      I wonder if there is a technique to assassinate by accelerating a car out of control. To wit, there are theories that this is how the late Jorg Haider was offed. The intelligence services of the world have (on record) produced a wide variety of unorthodox techniques, so I wouldn’t place such a method beyond the realm of possibility.

      Now obviously, I’m not saying the same people were responsible for both deaths (obviously) as ol’ Jorg and Mr. Hastings were worlds apart in both political sphere and ideology.

      It just seems to me that this is an effective way of getting rid of certain people while maintaining a cover of plausible deniability.

      Question is, how would the details work?

    • 0 avatar
      wilber

      Mercedes c250 computer parking assistance onstar = Remote control

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Looks similar to the “accident” suffered by one Iranian Nuclear scientist.
    The other was a bomb attached by a motorcycle in motion.

  • avatar
    bachewy

    How does a car jacknife? I know the term is used when a tractor trailer tries to wrap around itself.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      I wonder if the driveshaft somehow failed; pole vaulting it into a tree and smashing the gas tank while making it possible for the engine to break lose.

      I saw the aftermath of a Sable that was hit by a car going over 100 mph; the car that hit it still had enough momentum to break a phone pole. Neither gas tank exploded.

      • 0 avatar
        bk_moto

        I would imagine that the cause is far more likely to be human error than mechanical failure (as it is in most things).

        Years ago there was a detailed study into motorcycle crashes (the Hurt report) which is almost certainly out of date now and to my knowledge no follow-up study has ever been conducted, but one of the findings of the study was that mechanical failure was the proximate cause of less than 3% of the crashes. And this was in the late ’70s – as motos have become more reliable I’d bet it’s even lower now.

        I don’t know if any such study has ever been done with car accidents but I would have to imagine that the likelihood of such a catastrophic failure on a relatively new car would be extremely low. Not impossible of course but I would wager very unlikely.

        • 0 avatar

          Hate to open up another can of worms, but y’all realize that Toyota accelerator debacle was 100% media-driven propaganda BS, right? Don’t stack your floor mats, in ANY vehicle, EVER.

          In THIS case, it’s absolutely ridiculous that anyone would think that Mercedes ought to be blamed for this accident and fatality.

          Why is this important? Because a big company and marginally famous person were involved. I didn’t even know who this guy was until I read the story and then googled him.

          • 0 avatar
            bachewy

            100% Agree Lonewolffe. Media frenzy at it’s worst.

            I was making a joke about stuck accelerator in this case :)

      • 0 avatar
        wilber

        Are those trees that tuff, the bark is still intact.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    You know it’s a bad wreck when there’s an ENGINE lying in the road.

  • avatar
    galloping_gael

    what a snarky piece of crap. Fox News-ian in the way it conflates details.
    That aside, why *did* the drivetrain exit this vehicle after hitting a palm tree none too hard, from the looks of things?

    • 0 avatar
      bachewy

      Physics of going so fast or design flaw?

      That incredible fire is of great concern. Shouldn’t a cut-off switch minimize the chance of that happening, especially with the hot engine ejected from the car?

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      According to witnesses, he was traveling at a high rate of speed. The accident happened at 4:15 a.m., so there probably wasn’t much traffic around to prevent him from reaching that speed.

      His car probably hit the tree VERY hard, and, as krhodes1 noted, the engine was designed to eject in a crash such as this.

      A tragic accident, to be sure, but I doubt it is the result of some sort of nefarious conspiracy on the part of the military-industrial-espionage complex.

      From what I’ve seen firsthand, journalists willing to take on and bring down top-ranked government or military officials aren’t exactly reluctant to take risks in other areas of their lives.

  • avatar
    kkt

    Weird stuff. Is NTSB investigating, or is it going to be left up to local police?

    • 0 avatar
      bk_moto

      Why would NTSB investigate? Did a plane crash onto the car?

      • 0 avatar
        kkt

        NTSB investigates travel modes besides air. Truck with oversize load hits a bridge and knocks it down, NTSB investigates. Railroad and transit accidents, ships, pipelines.

      • 0 avatar

        No but he was Triple F (Fair F***kn Flying) when he hit that tree by the look of it

        • 0 avatar
          kkt

          They shouldn’t investigate because he was flying, hit a tree, and died. They should investigate why the car caught fire.

          • 0 avatar

            Cars are made of plenty of flammable materials, including foam, leather, plastics, cloth, not to mention the fuel. When those are removed from vehicle construction, then we can question it. At 100mph, all bets are off.

          • 0 avatar
            nrd515

            Tearing of fuel lines, would be my best guess. I saw a car burn like this one did on I15, East of LA about 1980. Idiot was doing warp factor nine in heavy traffic (he passed me about a minute before he died, I was doing about 80, traffic speed, and he was going way over that, my guess is about 120MPH), got clipped but a semi trying to change lanes, and it hit a sound control wall, and blew up. I saw the fireball, but couldn’t see the car hit.

          • 0 avatar
            bk_moto

            Meh. In extremely violent crashes, cars are sometimes known to catch fire. They are, after all, carrying up 20 gallons of a highly flammable liquid in a tank that is not impervious to the laws of physics.

            The NHTSA would be the agency to investigate such a thing but only if there were indicators of a pattern of cars catching on fire when they shouldn’t. I would suggest that this type of crash would be an outlier as far as what cars are designed to be able to survive and thus not really indicative of this particular model’s overall real-world crash behavior.

            If you’re crashing at 35-40 mph, you’re in the region of speed where the car is designed to be able to protect you best. If you are doing 100, you’re on your own. (BTW I’m using 100 as a hypothetical; people keep throwing that number out there but I’m not sure where it’s coming from.)

            I think from an engineering standpoint it would be cost-prohibitive to design a car that would protect its occupants at those speeds as well as at 40 mph unless we all want to wear Nomex suits, helmets, HANS devices, racing harnesses, and have cars that cost as much as F1 cars.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Well, I HAVE seen the aftermath of just this sort of accident. A couple times. I worked for a funeral home in High School, you see. 25 years ago in Maine the cops would call the local funeral home to pick up the pieces and take them to the state coroner’s office. Went on a couple of, uh, “bucket job” removals. So called because we had a couple of large stainless steel tubs for picking up the human pieces. And yes, hitting a tree sideways at high speed will both eject the engine and cause a raging fire. Modern engines are designed to do that, as the last thing you want is the engine coming into the passenger compartment with you.

    Trees are very, very, very bad things to hit sideways. Concentrates the impact force very nicely, and they are rather stout objects. I’m actually surprised and impressed that the car was not completely torn in half – THAT is a testimony to how well Mercedes builds the them, as torn in half is the usual result of hitting a tree at speed sideways in my experience. Chances are though, he was dead before the chargrilling.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed. Trees are the worst things to hit, and they’ve torn many a car completely in half.

    • 0 avatar
      MadHungarian

      Sadly, I’ve seen it too. Directly across the street from my house. It happened last month, 5:30 AM on the morning of May 12. Two people in a late 1990′s Olds 88 were approached by a cop at a well known lovers lane. They decided to speed away. Even though the cops did not chase, they kept rocketing off in their Rocket 88, turned down my street, missed a slight curve, probably bounced off one tree that launched them into the air, spinning, and the right side of the car slammed into another tree. I was awakened by an explosion-like sound, looked out the window and the car was already on fire. Both occupants died. The front of the car was completely disintegrated and the engine had been catapulted about 10 yards away.

    • 0 avatar
      cfclark

      A nearly identical accident happened in Orange County (so, same media market as the Hastings crash) a couple of weeks ago (kid driving an Infiniti G35 or G37 lost control on Jamboree Road, going north of 100mph, hit a tree and killed himself and three passengers), and no one saw anything conspiratorial in that…the car was barely recognizable as a car, let alone an Infiniti. Drivetrain components were scattered far and wide.

      Trees usually win a car vs. tree contest. Now if Hastings had had a chainsaw instead of a C250…

      • 0 avatar

        I dunno, I can see a whole lot of problems if we start mounting chainsaws on vehicles. Then it’ll be complaints about defective chainsaws.

        On the other hand, it’s a perfect setup for the coming zombie apocalypse.

      • 0 avatar
        slow kills

        “the car was barely recognizable as a car”
        That’s not the case here. The center bumper is bent back a foot or so but this is not a car that was folded in half, twisted, or any such thing.

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      Maine. Buckets of flesh. Homicidal cars and trees. Very Stephen King.

  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    A few things:

    1) a garden hose against a gasoline fire?

    2) Hatzalah were the first responders? Just what’s the response time of the paid professionals in LA? Sounds like Dominos delivers faster.

    3) “I am bound upon a wheel of fire” King Lear

    4) “Live fast – die young – leave clean underwear.” David Addison

    • 0 avatar

      I know the area. Hatzalah lives there, or a block away at most.

      Not sure exactly which block of Highland this was, but there are a few slight elevation changes, curves and rough road surfaces. I have seen street parked cars in numbering into the double digits destroyed by drunken drivers while goign to work around there on a Saturday morning.

  • avatar
    JasonH

    If he wasn’t wearing his seatbelt I find nothing about the accident or his death surprising.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    “…Fox News-ian in the way it conflates details….”

    You, sir, are evidently a social “science” major.

    Keep to studying mechanics 101((a subject which created a lot of journalists) and leave politics to the low IQ side of the house.

  • avatar

    I worked near this area for quite a while. Highland is a bit narrow but perfectly straight. This is a beautiful neighborhood with very nice looking old houses.

    If the crash was anywhere near 100mph the driver was undeniably reckless – the road is just too narrow for that speed. Speed limit, if my memory serves, is 35 and traffic typically went 45. I would certainly consider it pretty unsafe at 60+.

    D

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    The guy holding the pet goat and stroking it is priceless . . . only in LA!

    On a more serious note, the video shows a geyser near the wreck. It appears that the car sheared off a fire hydrant before it hit the palm tree.

    I wonder if there’s enough of the crash victim left to do a toxicology test. It seems like he had to be going really fast to do that kind of damage, and people who drive really fast at 4:00 a.m. down a suburban street usually are under the influence of something.

    • 0 avatar
      bachewy

      “…usually are under the influence of something.”

      Agreed. Much more plausible then a conspiracy theory like the NSA cut his brake lines and black SUVs were chasing him because he got some general in hot water several years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      GeneralMalaise

      “The guy holding the pet goat and stroking it is priceless . . . only in LA!”

      That rubdown is a lead-in to the actual rubbing-it-down-with-herbs-and- spices-before-putting-it-on-a-spit-and-roasting-it thing they do in L.A.

      Oh, wait… it was Hollywood. God only knows what that li’l feller had in store.

    • 0 avatar
      americanreal

      Goats are a symbol of the new world order (as are roses). Notice how many times the word “rose” shows up in recenet incidents, in people’s names, locations, businesses, etc. A not-very-sublte nod as evidence that this was a hit. Who in gawd’s name has a goat in LA/ No one. I live near that neighborhood. I call fake. There is no such news outfit as loudnews. Google it and look at the website. An empty shell.

  • avatar
    Phil Perspective

    Mr. Hastings’ aggressively Democrat-friendly storytelling …

    Try telling that to Hillary Clinton and her staff at the State Department.

  • avatar
    wiggles

    It is definitely a 35 mph zone, my ex lived there. No way a conspiracy.
    What married man is out at 4 in the morning driving 100mph in a residential 35mph zone?
    He was likely drunk/high. But his bbq’d body won’t reveal much.

  • avatar
    daviel

    100mph at 4am in a neighborhood? The guy didn’t know how to drive drunk. So far as the preening general goes, so what? Just another ‘grassy knoll.’

  • avatar
    rudiger

    The goat is the key. Wherever you find violent death and destruction, you’ll find a goat. It’s the new calling card of organized mayhem.

    Bush was reading a book called, “My Pet Goat” during the 9/11 attacks, and here they’re talking to a guy with a pet goat about the death of a guy who ended the career of a general. And then Hatzalah are the first responders.

    Coincidence? I think not. Definitely a conspiracy. Obviously, the car had been rigged to accelerate wildly out of control and eject its drivetrain with explosive bolts.

  • avatar
    carguy

    The engine and gearbox are designed to break off from the rest of the body in case of a frontal collision in order to provide more frontal crumple zone. This is a technology pioneered by Volvo about 25 years ago (and caused some amusing side-effects in the first generation even at low speed collisions). It could well be that the force of the crash triggered the detachment which would not be unusual or cast any doubt over the engineering of the car. The fire, however, is a problem that MB may want to investigate as collision induced fires are very rare in modern cars (except maybe exotics which don’t even require a collision to go up in flames).

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      Actually it’s going to be the subject of a future recall wherein all MB powertrains will be retained by a front mounted trailer hitch.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Now that’s funny right there!

        But I think it is better to say that high speed sideways collisions with trees are relatively rare, not something that is in any way designed for, and all bets are off as to what happens to occupants of the car. The tank probably ruptured, and there were plenty of sparks to light it off. Probably managed to hit the tree at the very worst possible point of the car to maximize damage to the tank, since it is probably right under the back seat.

        This might even be one of those occasions where the strength of the car worked against him. A lessor car would have torn in half, which would reduce the deceleration forces and get the front seat occupants away from the crash zone. Once you get up there in speed, it is all up to Lady Luck.

        Ever see the clip where the guy being chased by the cops in a Corvette slides the car into the back corner of a truck? The Corvette absolutely disintegrates, and the guy ends up sitting on his butt in the desert with barely a scratch. Pure dumb luck, GM sure didn’t design it to do that!

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Similar dashcam vid from a chase with a teenaged punk in a Trans Am or Camaro (forget what year–may have been the 2000-ish vintage), when said doofus hits a bridge abutment at 90+. Car shears in half, driver is even able to attempt a brief getaway on foot.

    • 0 avatar
      tbfcards

      So was the engine dropped on the way to the tree or was it ejected after the car hit the tree?

  • avatar

    My amateur eye says that car doesn’t look nearly as deformed as I’d expect if it had hit that tree at 100 mph. Anyone got a different/better view?

  • avatar
    bachewy

    I remember being told years back that motor mounts in then, new cars were designed to let the engine break lose from the car in case of a frontal crash. The idea was you wouldn’t get the engine in your lap. Instead, it would break away and go under the car. The dealer at the time led me to believe it was an OPTION but I found later it was a REQUIREMENT.

    Regardless, consider motor mounts from the last 20 years or so. Every one I’ve seen is held in place by single bolts and rubber bushings. It looks to me those would break pretty easy in a violent crash.

  • avatar
    windnsea00

    The engine broke away as it should and I am actually surprised how well the car held up in such an incident.

  • avatar
    I've got a Jaaaaag

    Looking at the video, I have a scenario that seems likely. Driving way to fast for residential street, driver loses control and spins, car clips fire hydrant ripping fuel line under car, fuel ignites on hot exhaust, car hit tree catapulting engine out of car, huge fire ensues from gas tank.

    Side impacts are always more devastating than front or rear impacts.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    And somewhere, a burner cellphone rings. “It has been done.”

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    Condolences to his family, who today are coping with a new world.

    Is there any standard road-going car that makes 100mph sideways into a tree a survivable accident? Wouldn’t we have heard about it in a stream of advertisements? The energy dissipated from an abrupt stop from 100 is about 3X that of the same stop from 60. I would be very impressed if an abrupt 60-0 were survivable, let alone 100-0.
    4:15AM, 100mph in a 35 zone where reasonable and prudent was probably 45. No conspiracies needed. What was he thinking?

  • avatar
    bachewy

    Oh wait, I smell a Stuck Accelerator Lawsuit in the making…

  • avatar
    lon888

    The real irony is when you go over to the KTLA website and read the news story there’s an advertisement below it for the “Mercedes Summer Sales Event”. That story will most certainly bring ‘em into the dealership…

  • avatar
    Bored383

    Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

  • avatar
    jmo

    I recall that Mercedes investigates crashes that occur within X km of their headquarters to learn more about how actual accidents happen and how well the safety systems perform in real crashes. They noted that in fatal accidents, after careful analysis, many turn out ot be suicides.

  • avatar
    GoCougs

    What an awful stupid piece. The C250 isn’t any marvel in engineering and it’d be pretty tough to orchestrate such a crash.

    The dude was drunk/high and crashed his car driving like a colossal idiot. Thankfully he didn’t take anyone else with him.

  • avatar

    You’ve never seen an engine ejected by force from the engine bay? I’ve seen it once when a car attempted to pull out of an intersection without obeying the signal. A passing semi took the front of his car off. Fortunately, it was a stub-frame vehicle, so the driver survived. The front of the car was mangled up under the truck and the engine was neatly ejected into the ditch after bouncing off a utility pole.

    “There’s no such thing as a fool-proof system. Someone will make a better fool, tomorrow.”

  • avatar
    David Hester

    We had one a couple of years ago that killed two. Mercedes 500 class into a tree at well over 80 mph. The aftermath looked a lot like this crash. There’s a picture of the burned out wreck at the link below.

    http://www.lex18.com/news/two-killed-in-lexington-car-crash/

    Only very silly people who’ve not been around many fatal car crashes would think that this has to be some sort of conspiracy.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Hasn’t been that long since an Infinity full of highschool kids in SoCal hit a palm tree at speed. It burned too. Responders initially assumed it was a two car accident because of the two burning wrecks. Pictures taken later showed some bark had come off the tree. They withstand huricanes; not the thing to test your car on.

  • avatar

    Looks like the Merc was in Fisker trim

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    The gas tank probably had nothing to do with the fire. There are so many things in an engine bay and in the interior of a car that are flammable and with a high speed impact like that there would be plenty of sparks + flammable liquids flying about to get things started.
    Car safety features are for average accidents not for stupid and 100mph + in a suburban setting is stupid. It’s very luck no one else was hurt or killed.

  • avatar
    Joss

    The guy was reckless – a risk taker. He’d had so many close calls on the job he thought he was invincible. It caught up to him. I was watching ‘Medium Cool’ Sunday, which ended with a 68 Democrat media crash & burn. Then I catch this.

    • 0 avatar
      Japanese Buick

      We see a lot of that here in NC, home of multiple large military bases. Guys survive combat then come home and die in high speed motorcycle accidents.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    Maybe NHTSA will issue a recall on trees now. They appear to be involved in a lot of crashes involving fires. Clearly trees are defective.

    Snarky comment # 2: Did anyone see a drone flying around just before this happened?

  • avatar
    GeneralMalaise

    I bought a 2013 E-class BlueTec about 3 weeks ago. I think I’m safe with the diesel… I hope… I pray…

  • avatar
    MK

    Thank god it wasn’t using the new refrigerant! That could’ve been horrendous!

  • avatar
    davidgn

    Goat? What goat? There is no goat in the video on the linked page — or there isn’t anymore.
    Does the goat have friends in high places?

    • 0 avatar
      Japanese Buick

      Looks like video in the story has been completely replaced. No goat, no ejected engine (it’s mentioned but not shown), lots of Michael Hastings hagiography. Still shows the burning car though.

  • avatar
    HiFlite999

    “Modern cars are very good at not catching fire in accidents.”

    ~150,000 manage do do so every year, killing ~1 person/day. Yes, the rate is falling, and yes one may quibble with what “modern” means. Yet such events are so common, they rarely make news (unless it’s a Chevy Volt in a junk yard, still powered up, 3 weeks after a deliberate test crash, with no injury to anyone.)

  • avatar
    slow kills

    How is there charred paint in the front, charred paint in the back, intact paint in the middle? How does that happen?

  • avatar
    slow kills

    http://www.jimstonefreelance.com/sheet.jpg
    Considering how an engine fire (wait, engine was ejected…)make that front-end collision would cause a fire in the front, why is the read of the car charred…and bent up…while the door clearly suffered less fire damage? And the tree was blackened too.
    This looks like a Hollywood rigged jod that uses explosives. I won’t even ask how one hits a median tree in the middle of the block at a high rate of speed, much less a fiery death and tossed drivetrain scenario.

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks for the link but, sorry, I’m not seeing it… One thing I can say is that the burning tires generate a lot more heat than whatever small amount of plastics are in the door panel. And the door panel is definitely NOT unscathed, unless the original paint color was “nude sheet metal.”

      As far as the rear end being bashed, it’s likely he bounced off a couple other things before the tree stopped him.

      I don’t think Hollywood had anything to do with it.

  • avatar
    Japanese Buick

    FWIW, this story was cited by Hollywood Reporter: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/car-experts-michael-hastings-crash-572699

  • avatar
    jillgrey

    Let’s put aside the degree of the fire/explosion and whether the drive train ejected as a part of the engineering safety measures. What about the trajectory of the drive train? The trajectory seems off to me. I can see it going up and over the car, but the car hit the tree and then the engine went up and to the back right of the car at around a 90 degree angle. That doesn’t add up to me. It seems to suggest that maybe the explosion took place a few milliseconds before impact.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Hastings_%28journalist%29
    sadly there could be some issues of cover up!


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  • J & J Sutherland, Canada
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India