SLIDELL, La. — A Louisiana man learned a valuable lesson last week: If you mess with a Tesla, it just might tattle on you.
Slidell police officials reported that patrol officers were called around 4 p.m. Friday to the EZ-Pick convenience store on Fremaux Avenue. There they found Arthur Bates Jr., who told the officers a Tesla parked outside the store had backed into him as he walked behind it.
Bates, 47, claimed that the driver had fled the scene after the incident.
“Bates was complaining of back, leg and neck injuries, resulting in an ambulance and fire truck (being) dispatched to the location,” authorities said in a statement.
Investigators soon found the Tesla’s owner, who denied striking Bates and said Bates had intentionally jumped behind the vehicle.
The Tesla itself proved its owner’s story.
“Unbeknownst to Bates, Teslas record all the footage (from) their cameras,” according to the police statement. “When Slidell police officers reviewed the Tesla’s video footage, it became apparent that Bates was lying and staged the entire event.”
The footage, which was made public by the department, shows Bates step behind the car as the driver begins to back it out of a parking spot. The lot was busy that afternoon as drivers needing gas in the wake of Hurricane Ida lined up at the pumps in the background.
Throwing his arms above his head, Bates falls to the ground.
The video shows, however, that the Tesla had stopped before Bates allegedly fell. It is not completely clear in the footage if the bumper nudged his leg, but it is clear that he was not injured.
Watch the entire video below.
As Bates is shown laying on the asphalt, a person, presumably the Tesla’s driver, walks to the rear of the car and, realizing that Bates is faking, slaps Bates’ foot off the vehicle’s bumper.
Bates remains on the ground, propped up on his elbow, and watches as the driver leaves the station.
Police officials said Bates ultimately admitted that he fabricated the accident. He was arrested for false communication with the intent to cause an emergency response.
Because the false report provoked an emergency response, Bates faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
According to the law, the penalty for the crime increases if someone is hurt or killed during the emergency response to a fraudulent incident. If someone had died as first responders went to the scene Friday, Bates could have faced up to 40 years in prison.
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