Friend believes doctor who died in fiery Tesla crash climbed in backseat to try to save his own life

New insight into deadly Tesla crash
New insight into deadly Tesla crash

Woodlands, TX – A close friend of a man who died when a Tesla crashed into a tree and burned says he believes Dr. William Varner was trying to save his own life by getting into the back seat of the car.

“I’ve been going weeks without being able to sleep because I can’t get it out of my mind. It’s just horrible,” said Varner’s best friend Bob Wortham who lives in Beaumont.

Varner and his friend, Everette Talbot, died when the 2019 Tesla Model S crashed and caught fire near the Woodlands on April 17.

Security camera shows Tesla owner got into driver’s seat before deadly crash, NTSB says

First responders found Talbot in the front passenger’s seat of the car. Varner was in the back seat. No one was found in the driver’s seat.

“The reason he was in the back seat, he was trying to save his life,” Wortham told KPRC 2. “It was such a painful experience for the whole family.”

The National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary crash report on Monday. It revealed that the doctor’s home security cameras showed him getting into the front seat of the car and backing out of the driveway.

The report stated that the car crashed 550 feet away from the house after the car went over a curb, hit a drainage culvert, a raised manhole, and then a tree. The impact damaged the car’s lithium-ion battery case.


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