When a Tesla flew over one of Los Angeles’ steepest hills in a now viral stunt, it wasn’t the first time the infamous hill had been used to showcase boat cars.
At around midnight on March 20, someone in a rented 2018 black Tesla S-BLM drove down the hill, flew 50 feet and made an emergency landing and skidded on its front bumper into two parked cars.
The history of Baxter street and car stunts goes back more than 100 years, while the history of the steep street goes back even further.
The street’s origins date back to the mid-late 1800s when the City of Los Angeles officially designated a tract in the Echo Park neighborhood as Baxter Street in 1872. Houses were built in the area, which were divided in a grid pattern. and by the 1890s, Baxter St. was subdivided into the intensely straight hill it is today — in part to act as a pedestrian walkway adjacent to the long-defunct streetcar line on Echo Park Avenue, according to Los Angeles Magazine.
Baxter St. is built on a 33% incline, according to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation; today, Los Angeles hills don’t score any steeper than 15%. Baxter is the third steepest road in Los Angeles and the tenth steepest in the nation, according to the Los Angeles Times.
According to LA Mag, by the early 1900s, automakers like Dodge would use the mound to test the horsepower of their cars in various types of public stunts. In 1916, a truck carrying 4,300 pounds of hay bales slid up the hill as reporters with cameras captured the event.A Dodge truck drives down Baxter Street in Los Angeles on May 29, 1916. Southern California Edison Photos and Negatives, Huntington Digital Library
March’s viral flying Tesla stunt wasn’t the first of its kind either, as Baxter St. has become somewhat of a testing ground for social media stunts.
In January 2020, YouTuber David Dobrik filmed a video of one of his friends driving his Tesla over the hilltrapping significant air, with a less destructive but equally dangerous effect.—DAVID DOBRIK (@DavidDobrik) January 28, 2020
“These speed bumps in LA are another level,” Dobrik captioned the video on Twitter. Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of Tesla, responded with a lone exclamation mark. The video has been viewed nearly 10 million times on Twitter.
The sharp incline has also been the intersection of accidents and the source of danger for drivers for years, as it was never originally intended to hold such congested traffic.
In 2018, due in part to the advent of navigation apps, the city of Los Angeles was forced to implement a series of traffic updates, including changes of direction and the addition of multiple stop signs. The LADOT said the street had “become a major safety concern for residents, access for emergency services and those using the roadway”.
Baxter Street 3 days after the stunt
Small units, half-timbered houses and hilltop mansions line the old street. As Insider spoke to nearby residents, hikers struggled up and down the street because of the ramp’s sheer pull. On the part of the road where the car made an emergency landing, skid marks from a shredded front bumper were visible; and garbage cans, left by residents for garbage collection, were ripped to shreds by the tumbling Tesla.
“It could have been cool,” a local resident who climbs the steep hill for his daily walks and asked if we’d call him his middle name, Cosmo, told Insider days after the March 20 Tesla stunt. “But someone could have died.”
Cosmo told Insider he was used to stunting on the street, sometimes with dirt bikes, but he recommended getting a permit to do stunts in a more controlled area or at least making sure cars weren’t parked, citing the historic car culture and car clubs in Echo Park and Elysian Park.
Another resident at the top of Baxter St., where the car was in the air, spoke to Insider through their doorbell buzzer and said he tried to sleep during the event but was awakened by the Tesla slamming into another car in the street. clashed, “which sounded like fireworks.”—Chazzy (@chazzydawgg) March 20, 2022
Auto influencer Alex Choi posted an eyewitness video of the incident the next day, titled “jumping a tesla.” In it, he travels to a Tesla meet-up-and-drive in Los Angeles that he had organized and vlogs that evening.
At one point on the ride, Choi says that “some random guy” told him he was going to jump the street that Dobrik was filming: Baxter St. From there, Choi films the incident and is left stunned.
It is not yet clear how many passengers were in the car and whether anyone was injured.
The LAPD has offered a $1,000 reward for information about the driver, adding that there was still no description of the driver and the car was left at the scene.
“We’ve received more than 50 tips and expect more as the story goes viral,” the Los Angeles Police Department said tweeted after the incident. “Over 90% of the tips are from the same person with a TikTok handle of @dominykas or @durtedom on Twitter. He is considered an interesting person based on the public posts on his account.”
Authorities added that the incident is under investigation as a hit-and-run felony and confirmed that the car was rented from Enterprise, with whom they are working with to determine the driver’s identity.
Dominykas Zeglaitis, a controversial influencer known as Durte Dom and formerly part of Dobrik’s “vlog crew” claimed responsibility in multiple TikTok videos, including footage of the stunt in one video, which garnered 11 million views before it was passed through. the platform was removed.
Several influencers called Zeglaitis’ bluff, prompting him to post a YouTube video claiming he had nothing to do with the crash, but edited videos to make it look like he was pretending to cause controversy.
Ultimately, local resident and musician Jordan Hook suffered the brunt of the crash when his Subaru was one of two cars hit during the crash landing, leaving his car a total loss. After an appeal from GoFundMe, Hook was able to raise more than $20,000 to repair his car, as residents had to think twice about parking their cars on the steep street for now.
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