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Tesla Driver Injured In Fiery Crash On Hwy 101 Dies

MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS SF) -- Authorities confirmed Friday afternoon that the driver of a Tesla that burst into flames after an accident on southbound Highway 101 had died from his injuries.

The Redwood City office of the CHP confirmed that the man died on Twitter at 3:42 p.m.

The news came not long after all southbound lanes of Highway 101 were reopened over five hours after the crash.

car fire
Flames and smoke erupt from the wreckage of a collision on southbound U.S. Highway 101 at State Highway 85 in Mountain View, March 23, 2018. (Yao Ko)

The driver of the Tesla was hospitalized with major injuries after the collision involving three vehicles which initially closed four lanes of southbound U.S. Highway 101 in Mountain View, according to the California Highway Patrol.

CHP officers said the accident is just south of the junction where Highway 101 meets state Highway 85.

Video from Chopper 5 showed the front of a Tesla Model S burned in the crash. The CHP said no one else was injured in the collision.

Mountain View Crash
Chopper 5 over a crash on Highway 101 near Highway 85 in Mountain View on March 23, 2018. (CBS)

The CHP said the Tesla was traveling along the carpool flyover just before 9:30 a.m. when it collided with a median barrier, causing it to catch fire.

After the Tesla hit the median, it landed in the second left-most lane of Highway 101 and was hit by a Mazda traveling in that lane.

An Audi traveling in the left-most lane crashed as well, bringing the number of total vehicles involved to three, CHP officers said.

The driver of the Tesla was transported to Stanford University Medical Center with major injuries, but no other injuries were reported, according to the CHP.

As of approximately 10 a.m., the two right lanes of southbound Highway 101 were the only ones open. The two middle lanes were later reopened as of approximately 10:45 a.m., CHP Redwood City tweeted.

The two left lanes remained closed while CHP received advice from Tesla engineers as to whether it was safe to move the vehicle. As of shortly before 2:30 p.m., the cars were being loaded onto tow trucks to be removed from the scene.

Authorities confirmed that all lanes were open as of 3:09 p.m.

KPIX 5 contacted Tesla for comment on the crash after learning Tesla engineers were at the scene. A spokesperson replied with a statement that read, "We are working to establish the facts of the incident and offer our full cooperation to local authorities."

The spokesperson also said it is Tesla's practice to dispatch a team in the "rare event" of a collision that results in a fire or other issue involving a battery.

© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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