Skip to comments.Famed Non-Automotive Journalist Michael Hastings Turns A C250 Into A “Bomb”
Posted on 06/19/2013 4:04:13 PM PDT by jjotto
The writing-about-writing crowd is abuzz with discussion about the rather unusual death of Buzzfeed/RollingStone/Gawker writer Michael Hastings. Mr. Hastings, whose name is never mentioned in the press without the immediate mention that he was the fearless journalist whose reporting brought down the career of General Stanley McChrystal, died in a single-car accident in Los Angeles yesterday morning. This in and of itself is not unusual, but the circumstances of the crash and its aftermath wont do anything to quiet the conspiracy theorists who are already claiming that the military-industrial complex found a way to cap the guy.
The definitive video of the incident can be found here. It features everything youd want in a crash story, including:
The ejected motor and transmission Video of the car burning with the fury of a thousand suns A man holding a goat in his arms and stroking it to keep calm as someone else discusses the incident The mention of Mercedes-Benz
That last bit is the critical part. Mercedes-Benz USA is no doubt sweating bullets over this one. An eyewitness report says that Mr. Hastings was driving at an excessive rate of speed down a suburban street when his car suddenly jackknifed and hit a tree with the force of a bomb. The Benzo, which by the wheels and quarter-panel appears to be the relatively prosaic but cheerfully stylish C250 four-cylinder turbo coupe, proceeded to throw its powertrain out of the engine bay, immediately catch fire in a manner typically reserved for episodes of Miami Vice, and burn its driver until said driver was charred beyond recognition.
This isnt good. The official ad copy for the C-Coupe states
Like every Mercedes-Benz coupe, it wraps four sport seats and passion for the road in sleek style. And like every C-Class, its a paragon of engineering virtue and extraordinary value. Put it together, and its like nothing else.
Nowhere in there does it say anything about then this sucker is going to jackknife out of control and char you like a steak ordered by a high-school dropout at Ponderosa. No wonder the guy in the video is stroking his goat to keep it calm. If I owned a C250 Id be outside staring at the thing wondering if it was safe to drive it at 100mph in a suburb.
Mr. Hastings has been eulogized by his editor at Buzzfeed in an article called Missing Michael Hastings, which unfortunately makes me think of Missing Missy. In the piece, Ben Smith tells us that Michael looked in clothes and that he was handsome and that he worked out. He also lauds Mr. Hastings for writing Valerie Jarett Versus The Haters, which opens with
Valerie Jarrett is one of the most influential women in America. Protective, fearless, dedicated: the controversial White House figure and Chicago titan is now yoloing on the homestretch to get her little brother re-elected.
Reading that article at one AM with a bottle glass of Ketel One in hand makes me think that a) Ive been too hard on automotive journalists and b) half of the TTAC staff could make big money in political writing. Thats because only half of us say stuff like yolo and swag.
But Im not here to speak ill of the dead. Im here to state that Ive seen dozens of cars hit walls and stuff at high speeds and the number of them that I have observed to eject their powertrains and immediately catch massive fire is, um, ah, zero. Modern cars are very good at not catching fire in accidents. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which is an evolutionary design from a company known for sweating the safety details over and above the Euro NCAP requirements, should be leading the pack in the not-catching-on-fire category.
Nor is the C-Class known for sudden veering out of control into trees and whatnot. My fathers been running a C350 of that generation around Hilton Head for a while and if anybody could make a C-Class veer into a palm tree without warning it would be him. If you happen to see my father on an airplane somewhere, please dont tell him I said that, and also dont tell him that I always call the C-Class the Cheap-Class. Thanks.
Mr. Hastings aggressively Democrat-friendly storytelling has the Internet already considering the idea that his death was engineered somehow. I cant say its totally unlikely. As noted above, the reported (and videotaped) behavior of the C250 was not in line with what wed expect. On the other hand, surely its expected that a respected, mature writer on non-automotive topics wont be barreling through a suburb so fast that any tree he hits will cause his car to burst into flames, right? Well keep an eye on this to see what, if anything, develops.
"...Im here to state that Ive seen dozens of cars hit walls and stuff at high speeds and the number of them that I have observed to eject their powertrains and immediately catch massive fire is, um, ah, zero.
Modern cars are very good at not catching fire in accidents. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which is an evolutionary design from a company known for sweating the safety details over and above the Euro NCAP requirements, should be leading the pack in the not-catching-on-fire category."
Best video I’ve seen of the immediate aftermath of wreck:
We don’t live in a free country.
probably has something to do with Princess Die. I mean, Di.
idunno. either there was a muslim in backseat who overpowered him and rammed the car into a that tree, or it’s a suicide.
The crash does seem odd. I was wondering if there is some design flaw with that car? or it impacted at JUST the right area?
Especially since it was a palm tree he hit, they’re pretty springy/spongy -Fort Sumter. I think if the car hadn’t exploded into fire, he would have made it with a few bumps and bruises.
I’ll suggest the time of the accident is the clue:
I’ve seen a tractor-trailer rig jackknife.
Never seen a car do it.
I think Jeremy [Clarkson], James [May] and Richard [Hammond] could manage it.
Cars don’t “jack-knife.” What the heck are they talking about?
“Our challenge today it to complete this off road rally with a fully engulfed hibachi surrounded by copies of the Daily Mail in the boot.” < /Clarkson>
I think “jackknife” is just a dramatic word reporters have heard related to terrible truck accidents but they don’t know what such an accident entails or, probably, what a jackknife is.
I presume by “jack knife” they meant the back end came around. It is a rear wheel drive car.
If you’re overweight and stressed and have a heart condition, they give you a puff of “instant heart attack.”
(Untraceable, unless you know the precise exotic compound and test for it the first day or two.)
If you drive a sports car, you jackknife and blow up in a fireball.
You don’t suppose the drugs and alcohol were involved, do you? At 4:15 a.m., where was he coming from?
From your video, I would suggest an excellerent was involved. Car fires are usually contained to just one area and from the video you can see someone hosing the car with water. That car is fully engulfed.
As a firefighter is rare for vehicle to catch fire after accident
Also single vehicle accident into tree - aka driver
I drive an older C230 Kompressor ,, same car but with a mechanical supercharger rather than a turbo (about an 8 hp difference.. but I have zero turbo lag) ... some points to consider ... If driven for more than a few minutes at high power output levels the turbo will be glowing red/yellow hot and could easily ignite a fuel spray ... the M288 motor (used since 2003) is a direct injection motor so the fuel pressure is VERY high ,, similar to a diesel... after watching the video it appears as if he hit the palm straight on with the one of the frame rails (probably breaking the motor mount on that side),, nothing directly in front to impede the ejection of the motor/trans (remember the motor is held in by three mounts ,, both sides and a mount at the tranny , the driveshaft is usually a slip fit into the tranny...the motor mounts are designed to control left/right rocking motion , not a front/rear pull) at 100mph that would have an enormous amount of kinetic energy.. The battery is underhood in this car and adjacent to the firewall ,, a potential source of ignition/sparks.. The car is very well behaved and responds precisely ,, as it is fairly new I would say the chance of a mechanical failure is quite small.. I say chances are this was pilot error ,, the best evidence is the speed and the time of day (night) ,, probably impaired if not by drink then by simply being tired.
We always called that “swap ends”.
Hard to see how the term ‘jack knife’ occurred to anyone.
High rate of speed and starting to spin out indicates passed out or incapacitated while leaning on the accelerator.
High-profile young guy in classy LA neighborhood at 4 am: Somebody was with him partying and they won't keep quiet for long.
I think the accelerant involved was gasoline. From news accounts, the motor was ejected which means fuels lines would have been severed.
The capability to have your engine and tranny eject upon impact is a little known feature of the C-class. It gives the crumple zones a little more working space.
All they had to do was let him know they had a juicy story.
Then, ask him to meet with them at 3am.
Then, they rigged his car.
I guess the fact he was burned to death would eliminate any messy autopsy that would tell us if he was ‘under the influence’. How convenient.
I would suggest an excellerent was involved.
I concur ... however I’m going to go with the obvious accelerant , the gas in the tank ... sure the tank has passed all sorts of tests BUT it is a plastic tank and there is a good possibility that the rear axle or driveshaft ruptured it. The car could have been going as fast as 135...
I think from watching the video that “jackknife” means the driver lost control and hit the palm tree on the side causing the car to fold up like a knife.
It would take quite the banzai driver to manage that on suburban streets -- is that what we've got here?
I can’t seem to view the video but your explanation would make sense — if the car folded it did, in fact, resemble a jackknife.
Cars “jacknife” the way “clips” hold “bullets.” Journalists are idiots. The bottom of a college class used to be teachers. Now it’s “Journalists.”
According to MSN auto crash reports, he should of been able to walk away relatively unscathed in 40 mph offset crash.
Apparently Mr. Hastings was very agitated and paranoid about unauthorized access to his work just prior to his death, according to friends.
Add in the peculiar nature of the crash itself, and speculation is only natural, even logical.
... is that what we’ve got here?
No idea , just speculation ,, however I would think the turbo would have been ejected with the motor and wouldn’t have been an ignition source..
I’ll take stupid kid , drunk/stoned/texting driving at speeds WAY above prudent for $1000 Alex.
It was what was reported to them by a witness. His name was Cortez and he ‘seen’ a lot. I suspect English isn’t his first language.
I was just coming northbound on Highland and I seen a car going really fast, and all of a sudden I seen it jackknife, said Luis Cortez, who witnessed the wreck.
I just seen parts fly everywhere and I slammed on my brakes and stopped and tried to call 911, Cortez added.
The engine of the vehicle was found in a yard about 100 feet away.
They don't call it Cheap-Class for nothing!
Yeah, that it gasoline. How could I possibly think it was radiator fluid? My bad.
So the car hit, engine dropped out, car went air borne and swiveled in the air impacting on the palm tree in the center of the trunk (where the gas tank is under). Fuel pump and computer still attached, fuel injection lines not attached, fuel everywhere, electrical lines arcing (car battery is in the trunk). Result, airborne, possibly caught fire as it did so and impacted the tree. High rate of speed > 100 mph from timing of red light video tape.
Rear wheel drive.
I am sure General MacChrystal sends his condolences and solicitations.
Big honking tree.
Probably hit amidships with an impact big enough to break the tank or rip a fuel line.
I imagine it burned a good while before the FD arrived since it was fully engulfed, at 4am may have taken a few minutes to get a 911 call plus travel time.
He supposedly feared for his life and was being investigated by the FBI.
I don’t know why he would have been out at this time of night if he feared for his life.
They also have a video where he tore through a red light moments before the accident.
Was he being chased? Was his car shot at?
There’s also word that he was in contact with a lawyer connected to the Wikileaks guy. Freedom-of-Information-Act requests are being put in about the FBI’s investigation of him.
You related to Kathleen Kennedy Townsend?
Maybe it was a freebasing mishap.
At least she knew what year it was, it took Obama two tries.
Has Dateline NBC weighed in yet?
At about 3 minutes into this video, it shows holes in the frame. I think two are just where the door handle was, but the others look like they could be bullet holes.
Wow. That is a blast from the past.
No, I hate the Kennedy’s. Are you related to Ernest Hemingway? Spell check Nazi.
So his love for Zero bit him on the as*? Nothing like being NSA’ed by your friends. Take heed Leftards.