By on March 21, 2022

2016 Tesla Model S, Image: Tesla

I am an optimist by nature. One must be, in order to be a lifelong Chicago sports fan — otherwise, the crushing realization that decades of failure are likely to be followed by a future that consists of more of the same might cause a person to take a one-way stroll into Lake Michigan.

I am trying to retain that optimism even as more and more evidence, both empirical and anecdotal, emerges that social media has warped humanity’s brains beyond recognition. I try to see some value in it — surely your second cousin twice removed would be unaware of your recent Jamaican vacation and how much fun you had YOLO’ing if you didn’t have a Facebook account, right?

Surely your 10 Twitter followers must know your thoughts on how to solve the morass in Ukraine, because you have figured out something that world leaders haven’t, and the world just has to know.

But even this eternal optimist turns into the Grandpa Simpson yelling at clouds gif sometimes. Seeing a video of a Tesla ending up in pieces — along with at least two other cars — at the bottom of a Los Angeles-area hill after some idiot with more cojones than common sense jumped it, Dukes of Hazzard style, caused me to want to just nuke of all of Silicon Valley.

If you’ve been on Twitter since Friday, you’ve probably seen the video. Or accompanying videos that showed onlookers standing dangerously close to the, uh, jump zone. Those latter videos tell me that this stunt was planned.

You may have also seen local news items, or posts from our competing sites, covering the story. It went, as they say, viral.

The cops are looking for the driver of the rented Tesla, which hit two parked cars when it landed. I saw a GoFundMe for the owner of one of those cars on Twitter this morning. According to Road & Track, the stunt occurred after a meet-up for Tesla owners and/or fans, and the owner of the @dominykas TikTok account has been identified as a person of interest by the LAPD. He or she posted a video of the crash with a caption saying “i just crashed my new Tesla.”

The cops further told R&T that they’re working with the rental-car company, the owner of the car, on ID’ing the renter.

Another Tesla driver jumped their Model X at the same spot in 2020. That driver is a YouTuber named David Dobrik.

Jordan Hook, the owner of one of the damaged cars — a Subaru Forester — was quoted by R&T as saying: “It’s this trend thing,” Hook said. “Everybody’s like ‘Oh I could be seen by Elon if I do a stunt or a trick on this street!’ It’s just gotten kind of stupid.”

He’s right! IT IS STUPID.

It’s stupid to jump cars on public roads, whether they are Teslas or Mustangs or BMWs. It’s stupid to stand close to the airborne car to get the best video for “the ‘Gram”. It’s stupid to risk people’s lives — oh, and a feline’s, too, as apparently a cat was in the car with the driver and passengers — just to get clicks and clout. Even if there is the potential for monetization.

This is where I admit, in the interest of full disclosure, that when I was a teen, I did some dumb stuff behind the wheel out of boredom/peer pressure/youthful stupidity. I even tried to jump my own car once, at much slower speeds and over a much more gentle rise. So I do get the appeal of “looking cool.”

Almost all of us did dumb shit behind the wheel as teens, whether we were car people or not. But we didn’t do it for Internet virality. And we grew up. We realize now how dumb we were.

It’s one thing to do something dumb because you’re a bored teen and you think you know more than you do. That doesn’t excuse this behavior, of course. But it’s a whole other thing to be a grown person — most rental companies require you to be at least 21 to rent a car — and to plan out this sort of event. It’s insane for the driver and onlookers to disregard their own safety, and the safety of others, just to “go viral.”

One guy lost his ride. Someone, or multiple someones, risk losing his/her/their freedom, depending on what the cops charge them with. All in the name of being the “star” of Twitter for a few hours, or a few days.

Yeah, I know. I’m the old scold now. For the record, I do think jumping cars is cool — but this sort of stunt shouldn’t be happening on public roads, especially in densely populated areas. Find a field and make a ramp should you want to chase viral fame.

No humans (or felines) were apparently harmed in the making of this video. They might not be so lucky next time.

[Image: Tesla]

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38 Comments on “Please, People: Don’t Jump Your Cars for Clicks...”

  • avatar

    I’m such a square that I thought the article was about jump “starting” your electric car because reasons with the clicks being those that happen when the battery is flat. I was so confused.

    Social media game is about the dumbest concept I’ve seen in awhile.

  • avatar

    Sixty years ago, the kids in my area jumped cars over a high railroad grade crossing. One of them sheared the engine and transmission mounts in the family sedan so that the engine and transmission were dragging on the pavement when he came to a stop. I never learned what his parents (or the cops) did to him.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Hope he bought the extra insurance from the rental agency.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I was all set to jump my wife’s X7 tonight, but then I read this article. Thanks for the tip; you made me re-consider.

    • 0 avatar

      Good decision, as the BMW X7 weighs about a thousand pounds more than the Model S (which is not a lightweight vehicle).

      Torque comparison is left to the reader.

      [Fun fact: The curb weight of an X7 can exceed the curb weight of an Escalade.]

      • 0 avatar
        Master Baiter

        “The curb weight of an X7 can exceed the curb weight of an Escalade”

        We have the inline 6, so ours is not heavier than an Escalade. And we have the M-Sport brakes, which I’m told are the largest brakes fitted to any passenger vehicle sold in the U.S. So it stops pretty well.

  • avatar

    In my home town there was a video going around where a teenager jumped a car from a strip mall parking lot over a 6 foot high fence into the high school sports field. As far as I know, they did not catch him. The parking lot was raised so it was basically a “drop off” over the fence.
    I knew some local motocross experts that jumped a road in my town. The approach and landing areas were perfectly groomed grass. They timed it so they jumped over cars on the road.

  • avatar

    I question where a Tesla driver would get such an idea. Its not like the CEO of the company has ever done anything for attention.

  • avatar

    “Dukes of Hazzard ‘style\'” is being generous. Bo and Luke (or even Coy and Vance) would never let a General Lee jump end THAT badly.
    That said, ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ was absolutely the first thing that came to my mind after seeing that yesterday.

    • 0 avatar

      I can’t believe this comment has gone one week+ with no responses.

      Not sure if trolling or crimes against humanity to make a Coy and Vance reference on a car website, but well done!

      All of the other comments seem to have left out Michael Knight (né Michael Long) and Colt Seavers.

  • avatar

    It was a calculated move. Whoever did this knew he or she would make more than enough dough from the clicks to pay off the rental company.

    This is how the world works today.

    • 0 avatar

      I wonder if he has/had a day job worth keeping? I think jail time is coming up.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d say the perp ***thought*** he’d make enough off the clicks to pay off the rental company. Whether he makes enough to pay off the rental **plus** the attorney, the fines, and all the property damage is another question. My guess is he’s in the hole.

  • avatar

    The LA Times did an interview with the guy whose Subaru got crashed into by the Tesla. It was a 2009. Per the story: “Hook, 37, said he spent more than $4,500 for a new motor just in the last month.”

  • avatar

    Certainly fortunate that the vehicle didn’t go over further forward before touchdown, or Lord knows what would’ve happened if that thing had done a somersault or two! (I’m sure the cat wouldn’t have been unscathed; he used a couple lives as it is!)

    The YouTuber’s video pointed out that at least one of the passengers was holding their hand on the side of the car out the window near the top of the door. I don’t know with how much less force a side-curtain airbag inflates versus the frontal ones, but I certainly hope that it was hard enough that the blithering idiot has a shattered hand for his participation in the stupidity!

  • avatar

    “nuke of all of Silicon Valley.”

    Your anger is misguided. You need to nuke Austin, TX not Silicon Valley.

  • avatar

    Just in case y’all haven’t noticed it yet, if you click on the comments portion of an article directly from the home page, you can read comments and most of the article without that horrible pop up ad invading your screen.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve also noticed that, at least in Safari on an iPhone, if you you read down to where the ad just starts to appear, then go back to the top and do a fast swipe up, the browser will go past the ad before the browser event can fire to start the damned thing playing and/or “following” your scrolling action down the page.

      I assume that the ad still doesn’t cache to the browser, but at least this one is only a minute long, so it won’t hoover through your data plan like a marijuana addict through Doritos on a bender! Still, it’s not necessary, and I’ll certainly remember being pestered by these stupid ads if I ever have to choose between any Toyota or Lexus product and something else. VerticalScope may be costing Toyota future sales with this garbage!

  • avatar

    I think pure stupidity is marked by clicks! LOL
    His license should be revoked…IMO
    But hey… destroying cars is just not my thing.
    I guess I am not the correct demographic.
    Whatever!!! LOL

  • avatar

    He should have painted the car orange and called it the “General Elon.”

  • avatar

    “I am an optimist by nature. One must be, in order to be a lifelong Chicago sports fan — otherwise, the crushing realization that decades of failure are likely to be followed by a future that consists of more of the same might cause a person to take a one-way stroll into Lake Michigan.”

    Not car related, but as someone who grew up elsewhere and has lived outside Chicago for a long time now, I cannot let this slide without comment.

    Imagine being a Chicago fan whining about lack of success!

    I’m 37 years old and the city has won at least one title in every major sport in my lifetime, including one of the most famous football teams of all time, arguably the greatest basketball dynasty of all time, snapping not one, but two century long baseball curses, and a three title hockey dynasty.

    Perhaps compared to Boston or Los Angeles Chicago hasn’t been successful, but it’s pretty rich to complain about a mere 11 championship parades since my teams (Minnesota) last hosted one. There are at least 50 cities in the country who would sacrifice the proverbial left nut for half the sporting success of the Windy City.

    • 0 avatar

      Being a St. Louis native, I applaud people pointing out Chicago’s lack of sports success.

      And now it’s time to renew my MLB TV subscription for Your 11-Time World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.

    • 0 avatar

      Could be worse: you could be a Lions fan! LOL!

      And the Pistons and Red Wings are shadows of their former selves, and the Tigers haven’t won a Series since 1984!

      It’s worse being a Detroit fan!

  • avatar

    Back in highschool 3 guys from our school stole a car and went for a joy ride.
    They stuck a flathead screwdriver in steering column to keep the steering wheel from locking up.
    Well as a part of that ride, they went for a jump. Upon landing screwdriver came loose and
    Straight into a pole.
    At the funeral they were referred to as “nice guys”. Just having fun….
    Us students were confused.are we talking about the same three guys here?
    Anyways I can’t imagine someone in the right mind understand the dangers of doing something like making an almost 2 ton object airborne; and still decide to do it in a public street.
    I must be getting old.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Hey look – no fire! I guess the skid plate did its job.

  • avatar

    Apparently somebody has flipped a switch saying the video is age restricted. That’s fun

  • avatar

    A few years ago some local high schoolers tried to do something similar. All 5 were killed in the crash.

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