A Florida driver will spend decades behind bars for driving a new Tesla so fast that when it passed a stop sign, the vehicle flew into a nearby house, killing a 69-year-old grandmother and her dog , as well as a passenger in the vehicle.
Vaughn W. Mongan, 45, was sentenced Monday to 27 years in prison, with 64 credit days served, after pleading guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide and three counts of reckless driving with grievous bodily harm, according to the files.
Mongan, who was driving with four other passengers in the vehicle, was traveling at a ‘minimum’ of 116 miles per hour shortly before the crash, nearly four times the 30mph speed limit of Palm Harbor’s residential street , according to the criminal complaint obtained by Law&Crime. The accused ignored the stop sign at the Hermosa Drive intersection and left the roadway, hitting a grassy embankment, Florida Highway Patrol troopers wrote.
The car was then launched into the air through a vinyl fence at the back of a house on Caird Way.
The crash fatally injured home occupant Donna Rein, 69, who died at the scene. The crash also killed Donna’s 14-year-old Yorkshire Terrier Lilly, according to WFTS (other reports have the dog’s name as “Lily”).
“The Telsa continued to pass through the residence, partially crashing through the front of the residence,” Florida Highway Patrol wrote in documents.
Car passenger Travis Meisman died at a local hospital while fellow passengers Sean Donahue, Colin Keeler and Christopher French were all injured.
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“He was airborne and of course he went all over the house,” said Sgt. Steve Gaskins at the time, according to WFLA. “It blew through the wall, blew out part of the roof and again caused fatal injuries to the elderly woman inside.”
Although Tesla-branded cars are known for their Autopilot functionality, authorities have not released any indication that Mongan was using it.
Meisman is said to have owned the car.
Rein’s family had to live in a hotel after the devastating accident. Her daughters mourned her in interviews with local media.
“It’s been hell,” Amber Mooney told WFTS in 2021. “Every day without her hurts more. It doesn’t get better. Waiting for her to call me. Waiting for her to call me. send a text.
“She was my constant,” Lindsey Jones told WFLA. “She was my rock, she was everything to me. She touched so many people. Everyone she would meet would just be in awe of her. She was like a rock star.
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