By Edwin Folven, 7/10/2014
Congregation Kol Ami damaged in incident
A suspect who was driving a stolen Tesla at a high rate of speed on La Brea Avenue and collided with three vehicles early on July 4 died on Monday at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.
Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office spokesman Ed Winter identified the driver as Joshua Michael Slot, 26, of Inglewood. The suspect allegedly stole the vehicle from a Tesla Motors dealership at 5840 Centinela Ave. in West Los Angeles. Officers from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Pacific Division saw the vehicle shortly after midnight and began a pursuit. The chase ended when the officers were involved in a minor traffic collision near La Brea Avenue and the Santa Monica (10) Freeway.
The Tesla sped northbound on La Brea Avenue, with some reports indicating the driver was going nearly 100 mph. Lt. David Crew, with the LAPD’s Pacific Division, said the officers sustained minor injuries in the collision, and no one else was hurt. The pursuit was terminated because there wasn’t enough time or police resources in the area to catch up with the vehicle, Crew said.
The Tesla continued northbound toward West Hollywood and at approximately 12:50 a.m., collided with another vehicle at the intersection of La Brea Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard. Slot allegedly maintained control of the Tesla, headed farther north and collided with two more vehicles near the intersection of La Brea and Lexington avenues. The force of the impact split the Tesla in half, and Slot was ejected from the vehicle. The front portion of the Tesla came to rest in the street and caught fire, while the rear portion flew through the air and became wedged in the alcove of a doorway at Congregation Kol Ami, which is located at the northeast corner of the intersection.
Sgt. Chris Tatar, with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, said five people in the three vehicles that were struck by the Tesla sustained “varying degrees of injury.” They were hospitalized, and had been released as of Monday, he added.
Authorities at the scene thought Slot died in the crash. However, paramedics resuscitated him on the way to the hospital. Slot later died from injuries suffered in the collision. La Brea Avenue remained closed throughout the morning.
“It was pretty bad,” Tatar said. “When you get a car going at a high-rate of speed, bad things are going to happen.”
The traffic collisions are being investigated by detectives with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, and the vehicle theft is being investigated by authorities from the LAPD’s Pacific Division. Tatar added that the traffic investigation is ongoing, and it will likely take several days to complete.
Sadie Rose-Stern, executive director of Congregation Kol Ami, said nobody was inside the temple when the collision occurred. She was notified early Friday morning by their alarm company, and immediately headed to the temple.
“We were incredibly lucky. Thankfully, we had a large metal gate that took the brunt of the energy,” Rose-Stern said. “The car wedged itself in. There was a lot of debris, but thankfully, we did not have a car in our sanctuary. There is some exterior damage, and we are in the process of getting quotes [for repairs].”
Rose-Sterns said the collision did not cause any significant disruptions because services were planned off-site later that day. She said things quickly returned to normal at the temple, but the staff is still receiving calls about the incident.
“We are just so grateful to the sheriff’s office and the firefighters and first responders,” Rose-Stern added. “There has been such an outpouring of support.”7.10 issue.pdf