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Santa Barbara woman sues Tesla claiming SUV pinned her against wall

Posted at 12:59 PM, May 30, 2019

A Santa Barbara woman is suing Tesla, claiming her Model X SUV suddenly accelerated and pinned her up against a wall while she was pregnant, causing her to go into premature labor, NBC Bay Area reported Thursday.

Mallory Harcourt claims the incident happened last December. She says she parked her new 2019 Model X SUV in the garage and took her 2-year-old son inside to change his diaper, but he ran back out to the car and hopped into the driver’s seat. Harcourt says that as she crossed in front of the Tesla to retrieve her son, the Model X accelerated, pinning her against a wall. The impact of the collision allegedly broke her leg, fractured her pelvis and forced her into premature labor.

The lawsuit alleges that the Model X has a faulty design. It claims Tesla should have proper driver seat sensors, a system that prevents accelerating with the gull-wing doors open, an extra step to engage the car’s drive system, and better software to prevent unintended acceleration.

However, Tesla claims the woman’s 2-year-old is to blame.

According to a Business Insider report, Tesla sent Harcourt’s attorney a letter defending itself, writing that data from the vehicle shows that the SUV “responded to the operator’s inputs, as designed” and that Harcourt’s son provided some of those inputs.

The data reportedly shows the brake was pressed, driver’s side door closed, gear shift put into drive, and that over the next six seconds, both the brake and accelerator pedals were pressed, sometimes both at the same time.