The video, according to NewsNation local affiliate KTLA, shows the vehicle speeding up a hill at a high rate of speed, catching air, then crashing into garbage cans and parked cars, as people recorded on their phones.
Soon after the video went viral, Dominykas Zeglaitis, better known online as Durte Dom, took credit and joked about the stunt, seemingly proud of coverage he got from KTLA.
“We made it on the news,” he captioned a video.
Zeglaitis was less forthcoming when a reporter came knocking on his door to follow up.
“I’m not saying anything, my lawyers told me not to talk about it,” he said, after telling the reporter moments earlier that “s@#* was crazy out there” and that he “didn’t know what was going on.”
It’s not clear whether Zeglaitis was actually the driver of the Tesla, or just trying to create online buzz.
The LAPD had to ask the public to stop sending them anymore tips about Zeglaitis, as over 90% of the tips they’ve received are about him.
Police are still working to figure out who was really behind the wheel of the car, but have named Zeglaitis a person of interest in the case.
Detective Juan Campos of the LAPD called the jump “a dangerous stunt.”
“It never should’ve been done,” Campos told KTLA. “I don’t know what they were thinking about. It could’ve gotten somebody killed.”
Brad Hoos, CEO of the Outloud Group, which connects influencers with brands, estimates that these kinds of crazy stunts are less than 1% of content creation. Big brands— and big money — usually steer clear of these,he said.
“Those creators are not representative of influencers in general,” Hoos said. “They’re sort of the bad boy genre and they definitely give creators a bit of a bad name for doing those sorts of things.”
Legitimate social media influencers with sizable follower counts can make hundreds of dollars or even seven figures. But it’s attention, and not money, that is likely the big motivation when it comes to stunt videos.
“For better or worse, there’s going to be a segment of people who are really drawn to these types of stunts, so the creator can monetize within that small niche of an audience,” Hoos said.
One person whose car was hit during the Tesla stunt has a GoFundMe page to raise money for repairs. Local musician Jordan Hook said he woke up the night after the incident to see a “destroyed Tesla rammed into the back of my Subaru.”
“The back is only banged up on the bumper. But my wheels were turned in towards the curb, and when the Tesla hit my car it jumped the curb, wrenching the wheels under and twisting them up so that it is now un-drivable,” Hook wrote.