2nd victim identified in fiery Tesla crash near The Woodlands

Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Memorial Hermann doctor identified as victim in Tesla crash
Elon Musk cited a safety report, claiming a Tesla with Autopilot engaged has a nearly 10 times lower chance of accident than the average vehicle.

THE WOODLANDS, Texas (KTRK) -- The second victim in a fiery Tesla crash near The Woodlands has been identified, according to the medical examiner's office.

Engineer Everett Talbot, 69, was killed. His friend, 59-year-old Dr. William Varner, also died in the crash that happened Saturday night on Hammock Dunes Place in the Carlton Woods Creekside subdivision just west of The Woodlands.

The men were in a 2019 Tesla Model S that ran into a tree and burst into flames.

Firefighters and medics responded to reports of an explosion in the woods after the Model S ran off the road, authorities said.

The fire raged for four full hours and required rescue workers to use about 30,000 gallons of water to eventually put the fire out because the battery kept reigniting, the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable's Office said.

After the fire was put out, local authorities said one man was found in the passenger seat, while another was in the back.

Local officials insist there was no one in the driver's seat of the car at the time of the crash.

Both Talbot and Varner were friends, according to authorities.

Authorities say the men in the car had just dropped off their wives at a home in Spring and took the vehicle on a test drive. Moments later, the calls started coming into 911.

Earlier this week, Memorial Hermann released a statement on the death of Varner.

"Dr. Varner was a tremendous human being who personally impacted many throughout our Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center family over the years. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family, and also to those who had the privilege of working and serving alongside him in various capacities. He will be dearly missed by so many."

Federal safety regulators have sent a team to investigate the crash.

READ MORE: Elon Musk claims autopilot was not used in fiery Tesla crash that killed 2 people in The Woodlands

Investigators want to know how one of Tesla's vehicles wound up crashing into a tree after they found no one was in the driver's seat when it happened.

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The video above is from a previous report.