As with most things Elon Musk does, interest in Tesla’s Gigafactory, which will be the world’s largest lithium-ion battery plant and is being built in Nevada, has been feverish. Last week, that fascination may have gone too far. Two employees of the Reno Gazette-Journal (RGJ) allegedly trespassed on the factory site and were taking pictures, according to a Tesla blog post. It went seriously south from there.
When the journalists were informed that authorities had been called, a Tesla employee reportedly tried to write down the license plate number of the Jeep, and the car reversed into the employee, injuring him, according to the company’s account. The vehicle also allegedly hit an ATV carrying two safety managers, and then accelerated into one of them after he got off the ATV.
The sheriff’s department arrested one of the two for assault with a deadly weapon, and “advised that both would be charged with trespassing.”
A response by the RGJ names the employee charged for assault as Andy Barron, a photographer for the newspaper since 1998. Publisher John Maher is quoted as saying, “We take this situation very seriously and it is under investigation at this time.”
It also adds that “a rock had been used to shatter the driver’s-side window and the driver’s-side seat belt had been cut in half,” which goes unremarked on and unexplained in Tesla’s account.
This isn’t the first time this has happened, according to Tesla:
We appreciate the interest in the Gigafactory, but the repeated acts of trespassing, including by those working for the RGJ, is illegal, dangerous and needs to stop. In particular, we will not stand for assaults on our employees and are working with law enforcement to investigate this incident and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.