CA Firefighter Loses All Three Children in Tesla Crash

Aug. 19, 2022
It is unknown if the car's autopilot was engaged when it swerved into a tractor-trailer.

Amy Graff

SFGate, San Francisco (TNS)

Aug. 19—A San Jose firefighter lost all three of his children in the Tesla crash on Sunday in Hollister, Calif., that also claimed the life of the children's mother, according to a post on GoFundMe.

Capt. Steve Biakanja's children — his 14-year-old twin daughters Leigh and Lucy, and his 12-year-old son Ben — and his ex-wife, 53-year-old Lisa Biakanja, were returning home after a day at Casa de Fruta, KSBW reported. They were all killed at the scene when the vehicle swerved from the westbound lane of Highway 156 into the eastbound lane over solid double yellow lines, colliding with a tractor-trailer, the California Highway Patrol said.

It's unknown why the Tesla swerved into the lane with oncoming traffic, CHP said. The agency did not comment on whether the Tesla was on autopilot when it made a left turn movement into the other lane, but Lisa's family told KSBW that she drove an older model without the self-driving mechanism.

In the GoFundMe, the San Jose Fire Department's Station 16 wrote, " Captain Biakanja's daughter, Leigh (14), was a Sea Cadet who enjoyed learning about science and playing softball. Her twin sister Lucy, loved animals, raising chickens and doves as a hobby. Their younger brother, Ben (12), leaves behind his collection of World War II memorabilia, an avid interest of his."

The children attended school in the Carmel Unified School District, KTVU reported.

"Coming back, the second week of school to this news this morning was certainly very tragic and was hard for a lot of staff and students to hear," Superintendent Ted Knight told KION-TV.


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