INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Two people were killed in fiery, single car crash near downtown Indianapolis early Thursday morning.
The Indianapolis Fire Department said first responders were called to 16th and Illinois streets shortly after 1 a.m.
Officials said a woman was driving a Tesla north on Illinois Street when she lost control at a curve, hit a tree and crashed into the side of a parking garage.
Alfred Finnell Jr. witnessed the crash. He said the vehicle was speeding down the road before it crashed and exploded.
“There was one big explosion first, then there were several little small ones and debris just kept popping up in the air like somebody was at a fireworks display or something,” Finnell Jr. said.
Firefighters found the car on fire with the driver and a male passenger trapped inside. IFD says the driver died at the scene.
It took crews approximately 15 minutes to free the passenger who was rushed to the hospital where he died.
IFD spokeswoman Rita Reith said electric vehicles pose unique challenges for first responders, who must use special caution when handling materials used in the cars’ batteries.
“The car, kind of, for lack of a better term, disintegrated. The debris field is at least 100 yards long,” Reith said. “The batteries and the pieces and parts from the Tesla — all which were on fire when firefighters initially arrived.”
Officials have not released the victims’ identities.