Charges: Rochester Uber driver crashed, injured 4 passengers while showing off Tesla

An Uber driver from Rochester is facing several charges after he allegedly crashed his Tesla at “frightening speed” while transporting passengers in April.

A criminal complaint filed Tuesday in Olmsted County shows 40-year-old Eldon Gale Nelson is charged with three felony counts of criminal vehicular operation resulting in substantial bodily harm and one misdemeanor criminal vehicular operation charge.

On the night of April 29, Nelson picked up four friends — two men and two women — in his 2022 Tesla Model S. One of the passengers told police that the friends had commented on the brand-new car as Nelson drove toward Highway 52, the complaint states.

When Nelson got to the on-ramp from 37th Street, he “tried to show off the car’s powerful engine,” accelerating to roughly 90 mph, the complaint states. The driver eventually lost control, crashing into the median of the highway.

A Minnesota State Patrol crash report states the crash happened around 10:49 p.m. When troopers got to the scene, the Tesla was “nearly perpendicular to the highway” and blocking the left two lanes of traffic. Three people were outside the car, including a man with blood on his face and a woman with a limp.

All four passengers were taken to St. Mary’s Hospital, the complaint states. One had suffered vertebrae fractures; another had broken ribs and a broken clavicle; a third was knocked out and suffered several broken bones. The fourth passenger, who was sitting in the front seat, only had minor injuries.

Nelson was charged via summons and is due to make his first court appearance on July 26.