It was late on Sept. 20 when a police officer from Fremont, about 40 miles southeast of San Francisco, spotted a car being sought in nearby Santa Clara in connection with a felony. The vehicle, a Toyota Avalon, triggered an alert when it crossed into Fremont city limits. Officers had already been instructed to be on the lookout for the vehicle when Officer Jesse Hartman spotted it in the parking lot of a local auto parts store, Ms. Bosques said.
After Officer Hartman tried to stop the wanted vehicle, the driver took off, setting off an eight-minute, 10-mile chase. The car sped onto Interstate 680, reaching speeds over 110 miles an hour, according to the police.
Officer Hartman soon had backup, Ms. Bosques said. Shortly after two additional Fremont Police Department vehicles joined the chase, Officer Hartman’s Tesla alerted him that the vehicle’s charge was running low. Minutes later, after the Avalon drove onto the shoulder of the freeway in order to pass a vehicle, the police sergeant called off the chase “to ensure public safety.”
The California Highway Patrol had been on its way to respond to the chase when it was called off, Ms. Bosques said. That agency later found the vehicle abandoned in the area.
The Fremont police said in their first statement that the Tesla, which had been at the city’s corporation yard earlier that day, had a 50 percent charge when Officer Hartman picked it up at the beginning of his 11-hour shift, but Ms. Bosques said on Monday that the vehicle’s charge was actually higher than that. The chase took place about nine hours into his shift, she said.
“We think it started the pursuit with about 50 miles left on the charge, but when cars accelerate at speeds such as the situation, going over 110 miles per hour, the car charge starts to drain down faster,” Ms. Bosques said. And before the chase, Officer Hartman had driven around more than usual for a shift, she added.
It was the second pursuit for the department’s Tesla, which Ms. Bosques said “has never fully lost a battery charge during any type of call for service.”