As Storm Dennis claimed three lives across the United Kingdom, the casualty number almost rose by eight when an oak tree came crashing down in Dorset. On Saturday night, Laurence Sanderson had been travelling with his family through Dorset when his Tesla Model X ground to a stop when the tree fell on the car's bonnet. Coincidentally, another Tesla car approaching from the opposite direction braked in time for the occupants to remain safe.
Laurence, his wife Anna, and children Max, 12, Isabella, nine, and Rex, three, were in the Tesla Model X when the incident occurred. The family had been driving to Dorset for the children's mid-term holiday. Laurence recalled that he saw the 400-year-old massive tree coming down in front of the car. The tree fell faster than the driver could respond. However, the vehicle's autopilot detected the impact and hit the emergency brakes. The tree fell on the bonnet instead of on the occupants.
On the opposite side of the tree, another Tesla vehicle also saved the lives of its occupants. 31-year-old construction company director Josh Whitelock, his partner Kitty McConnell, and her mother Julia McConnell were saved by the autopilot mechanism on their Tesla.
The Mirror reported that A31 at Sturminster Marshall remained closed as the crashed cars and fallen tree had to be cleared. While both drivers confirmed that their cars were beyond repair, they were glad that their families were not seriously injured. Anna was the occupant with most injuries. With a bump on the head, bruises on her chest, and two black eyes, the mother-of-three escaped with minor injuries.
The owners of both vehicles spoke about how the people in the area helped them out after the accident. The owner of the property from where the tree collapsed gave his Land Rover for the two men to use. A couple provided food and water to the crash victims. They also helped the traumatised children feel better by letting them stay in their home and play card games.
Laurence added that Elon Musk had done them proud by creating a safe and reliable vehicle.