Imagine a brand new Mercedes C250 that hits a palm tree somewhere in Los Angeles. Would you consider it likely that the engine of the car would fly “50 to 60 yards“ from the car down the street after the impact took place? I’ve asked Daimler in Stuttgart, Germany some questions with respect to the fatal car crash of US journalist Michael Hastings. Mercedes Benz USA says it has “no information to provide because we have very little information on this tragedy.”
By Lars Schall
Imagine a brand new Mercedes C250 that hits a palm tree somewhere in Hollywood, Los Angeles with high speed at 4:25 in the morning. Would you consider it likely that the engine of the car would fly “50 to 60 yards“ from the car down the street after the impact took place? (1)
Well, that is what allegedly happened with regards to the single-vehicle accident that ended the life of Polk Award-winning journalist and book author Michael Hastings on June 18 (see here).
Even though the Los Angeles Police Department stated officially that “no foul play“ was involved in the accident, such a thing (an engine many meters from the rest of the car) was a bit too much for my imagination (the vehicles built by Mercedes Benz belong supposedly to the safest and best in the world, right?). Therefore, I wrote the following media request to the global press office of Daimler (email@example.com) in Stuttgart, Germany last weekend:
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
my name is Lars Schall, I am a freelance journalist.
Related to the recent car crash that killed investigative journalist Michael Hastings in L.A.:
I would like to know how you comment on the fact that witness Gary Grossman stated on record that the engine of the car (a new Mercedes) flew “50 to 60 yards” away from the car after it hit a palm tree (see video above)? Is this really possible?
I should add that the Los Angeles Police Department said that “no foul play“ was involved in the accident:
So do you believe that the disconnection of the engine from the rest of the car is attributable to shortcomings caused by your company? What’s your explanation? Did anything like that happen before? Moreover, will you establish contact with the LAPD related to its investigations? And what do you think about the statement by witness Gary Grossman that he “couldn’t have written a scene like this for a movie“?
What said Daimler to all of this? After I had made some additional phone calls with Daimler’s press office in Stuttgart, I received this message from Mercedes Benz USA on June 28:
Dear Herr Schall,
Your inquiry below has been forwarded to me.
Unfortunately we have no information to provide at this time because we have very little information on this tragedy. As any engineer would tell you, virtually every crash is different and we would need to know details that the police haven’t released yet. Therefore anything we told you would be speculative rather than fact-based. We hope you understand our reluctance to speculate during the course of an ongoing police investigation. When and if the police ask for our assistance, we’ll know more.
I’m sorry we can’t be more helpful at the moment.
Manager, Corporate Communications
Mercedes Benz USA, LLC
The next media request went via e-mail to the LAPD (firstname.lastname@example.org). It said:
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
my name is Lars Schall, I am a freelance journalist from Germany.
According to information that I received from Mercedes Benz USA, so far the company wasn’t ask by you for assistance related to the ongoing investigation dedicated to the fatal car crash of Michael Hastings on June 18. Do you intend to ask Mercedes Benz / Daimler to participate in the investigation in any way — for example to exclude a massive design flaw? Do you believe that the disconnection of the engine from the rest of the car (circa “50 to 60 yards”) is attributable to shortcomings caused by Mercedes Benz / Daimler?
Below follows the information provided to me by Mercedes Benz.
To be continued…
(1) 1 yard equals 0,9144 meters.