Politician’s Hit-and-Run Captured on Camera by Tesla’s “Sentry Mode”

Ex-traffic Judge Willie Singletary backed his Cadillac Escalade into the Tesla

Tesla Model 3 electric automobile. (Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Tesla Model 3 electric automobile. (Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
By The Editors / April 15, 2019 11:44 am

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A Tesla Model 3 equipped with the automaker’s Sentry Mode was allegedly able to capture a Philadelphia politician leaving the scene of a hit-and-run accident without reporting it to the police or leaving a note. 

When enabled, Sentry Mode “enters a ‘Standby’ state, like many home alarm systems, which uses the car’s external cameras to detect potential threats,” according to Tesla. “If a minimal threat is detected, such as someone leaning on a car, Sentry Mode switches to an ‘Alert’ state and displays a message on the touchscreen warning that its cameras are recording.”

The Model 3’s cameras were recording when former traffic court Judge Willie Singletary accidentally backed his Cadillac Escalade into the Tesla, triggering the car’s alarm. Singletary, who’s now running for the Philadelphia City Council, then exited his vehicle and appeared to try to buff out the damage which had been done by the collision. He then left the scene. 

Here’s the video that shows what went down:

In the post that accompanies the YouTube video, the user who posted the clip said Singletary “was tracked down through the video” and “did provide insurance information” afterward, but only once he found out the incident was captured on video.

An estimate the Model 3 owner got from Tesla-certified body shop said it would cost $2,000 to repair the damage done by Singletary’s Escalade, which was a rental car.

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