Toddler trapped in Tesla after battery dies, locking grandmother out of vehicle

Electric vehicles have their benefits, but like anything, they can also have their flaws. And sometimes those flaws can lead to potentially life-threatening consequences.

Renee Sanchez, a Phoenix grandmother, was all set to enjoy a day at the zoo with her 20-month-old granddaughter. She placed her in her car seat, shut the car door, and went to get in the driver seat.

But when she went to open the front door she encountered a major problem.

“My car was dead,” she told AZFamily. “I could not get in. My phone key wouldn’t open it. My card key wouldn’t open it.”

Since Sanchez was trapped outside of her vehicle and her granddaughter was already strapped into her car seat, she had no other option but to call 911.

“And when they got here, the first thing they said was, ‘Uggh, it’s a Tesla. We can’t get in these cars,’” she said. “And I said, ‘I don’t care if you have to cut my car in half. Just get her out.’”


Sanchez said her granddaughter was “OK” for the first few minutes of the incident, but once firefighters arrived and began using an axe to break the Tesla’s window, the little girl began to cry.

Once the 20-month-old was safe in her grandmother’s arms, Sanchez said then the anger began to settle in.

The 12-volt battery in her vehicle had died without warning. Drivers should receive three warnings before their batteries die, but for some reason Sanchez did not. A Tesla service department confirmed no warnings were sent to her vehicle.


Now Sanchez wants first responders educated on how to handle dead electric vehicles.

“They were as much in the dark as I was.”

Despite the terrifying incident, Sanchez is still a fan of Tesla, though now she’s a bit more cautious.

“I give Tesla props. When it works, it’s great. But when it doesn’t, it can be deadly,” Sanchez said.

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