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Tesla Helps Solve Hit-And-Run Mystery In Olive Garden Parking Lot

LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4) - A woman in Littleton says video captured by a Tesla helped to solve a hit-and-run accident that caused more than $2,000 worth of damage to her car.

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(credit: CBS)

"It's a been a bad situation that turned into a good situation," Rose Johnson told CBS4.

A few weeks ago, Johnson and her family were having dinner at an Olive Garden near Wadsworth Boulevard and Crestline Avenue. When they went to leave, they found their car had been hit in the parking lot. The driver of the other vehicle had left the scene.

"I looked at my car, it looked pretty bad and I was like 'I can't believe this is happening,'" she said.

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(credit: CBS)

Luckily, Johnson said two men saw the accident happen and were waiting in the parking lot. They told Johnson they were able to get the license plate on the vehicle that hit her car.

"They were like 'Hey, we'll show up in court, we'll do whatever," she explained. "But, by the way we actually have a Tesla and it has four security cameras. I'm going to download the footage and send it to you."

Johnson showed CBS4's Makenzie O'Keefe, that in the first video you can see the truck parked next to her car. In another video, you see the truck pulling out of the parking lot.

"There they go," she said. "They just drive away and they're gone."

One angle of the Tesla security camera, however, actually captured the collision. The Tesla was parked next to Johnson's car and the video that was captured shows the impact of the truck hitting Johnson's car.

"She hit the car so much that it rocks and the tires moved," Johnson said. "So to me, you can't hit a car that hard and not know you hit it."

Paired with the license plate information, the Tesla video helped Lakewood police track down the hit-and-run driver. Officers say the driver was charged with careless driving and leaving the scene of an accident.

For Johnson, she's just thankful her family is safe and that the Good Samaritans were able to use their car to help crack the case.

"It just makes me really thankful that there are cars out there, that can prove what happened so justice can happen," she said.

In September, CBS4 was the first to report on a vandalism incident in Broomfield where woman was caught on camera keying a man's Tesla. That woman later turned herself into police. Last month, a man was accused of knifing a Tesla in Conifer and that situation was also captured on the vehicle's built-in camera.

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