A Florida driver will spend decades behind bars for driving a new Tesla so fast that when he blew past a stop sign, the vehicle flew into a nearby home, killing a 69-year-old grandmother and her dog, along with a passenger in the vehicle.
Vaughn W. Mongan, 45, was sentenced on Monday to 27 years in prison, with 64 days of credit served, after pleading guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide and three counts of reckless driving with serious bodily injury, records show.
Mongan, who was driving with four other passengers in the vehicle, was going a “minimum” of 116 miles per hour shortly before the crash, nearly four times the 30 mph speed limit of the residential street in Palm Harbor, according to the criminal complaint obtained by Law&Crime. The defendant disregarded the stop sign at the intersection of Hermosa Drive and hurtled off the roadway, striking a grass embankment, wrote troopers for the Florida Highway Patrol.
The car was then launched airborne through a vinyl fence into the back of a home on Caird Way.
The crash fatally injured house 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 through the residence crashing partially through the front of the residence,” the 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 all sustained injuries.
“It was airborne, and of course it entered the entire house,” said Sgt. Steve Gaskins at the time, according to WFLA. “It blew out the wall, blew out part of the roof, and again caused fatal injuries to the elderly woman inside.”
Though Tesla brand cars are known for their autopilot functionality, authorities released no indication that Mongan was using this.
Meisman was reportedly the car owner.
Rein’s family had to live in a hotel after the devastating crash. Her daughters mourned her in interviews with the local outlets.
“It’s been hell,” Amber Mooney told WFTS in 2021. “Every day without her hurts more. It doesn’t get better. I’m waiting for her to call me. I’m waiting for her to text me.”
“She was my constant,” Lindsey Jones told WFLA. “She was my rock, she was my everything. She affected so many people. Everyone, she would meet would just be in awe of her. She was like a rock star.”
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