You might have seen this picture online or maybe it was emailed to you with a caption, “Smart Car Accident New Orleans.” The picture is meant to depict a Smart Car that has been squeezed down to the size of a suitcase in between two large dump trucks. However, a small amount of investigation reveals that it is NOT a Smart Car in the picture. In fact, the accident did not even actually occur in New Orleans!
The accident pictured above took place in May 2009 in Harvey, Louisiana, which is in Jefferson Parish, just across the river from New Orleans proper. Multiple accounts reference both the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Department and witnesses who took photos at the scene of the accident.
The little crushed car in the middle of those trucks is not a Smart Car, it’s not even a small car at all. Plenty of research has been done focusing on the one visible intact wheel in the photo. The easiest puzzle to solve is disproving that a Smart Car is in the accident. Smart Cars are specially designed, right down to the lug nuts in each wheel.
Each and every Smart Car has just three (3) lug nuts, whereas the wheel in accident photo clearly has five (5) lug nuts. Clearly, not a Smart Car.
The trickier mystery is determining what car really was between the two trucks. Many research sites, including Snopes, claim that the vehicle in the middle was reportedly a Ford Escape SUV. And even more shockingly, the impact did not occur in the exact center as it appears in the photo.
The car in the middle was actually offset to the right, and thus the driver’s side was not nearly as heavily damaged. The driver of the Ford survived the crash and was released from the hospital shortly after the accident.
It’s natural to wonder why anyone would want to stretch the truth about what kind of car was crushed in the middle of the two trucks. The most obvious reason would be to discredit Smart Cars either out of a desire to eliminate competition or just sheer dislike of the company or product. Other reasons could be for financial gain, or to bring attention to small car safety in New Orleans.
For more information on New Orleans accident prevention, see How to Reduce Speed Related Accidents in Louisiana. If you have been involved in any kind of car accident, contact Smiley Law for personal attention to your personal injury.