Roadshow

BMW crashes right outside CES -- humans appear to be at fault

It wasn't a self-driving car.

David Carnoy/CNET

When something goes wrong at the threshold of the world's biggest tech showcase, you'd be tempted to blame tech. Did a self-driving car just crash?

But apparently, people snapping photos of a totaled BMW, right in front of the Las Vegas Convention Center, were looking at a fairly ordinary wreck.

Sometime around 1:45 p.m. PT on Saturday, a person was test driving a BMW M6 when, according to a witness on Twitter, they accelerated too hard into a turn, hit a lamppost and wound up facing the wrong direction in oncoming traffic -- in plain view of CES attendees riding the escalator to the Las Vegas monorail.

A BMW spokesman confirmed a crash, identifying the driver as a CES attendee. But the car? A standard production BMW M6, the company told CNET, not a self-driving vehicle. (BMW did bring a self-driving 5-series prototype to CES, but it wasn't involved in the crash.)

BMW says the driver, the only occupant of the vehicle, was uninjured. While a video on Facebook shows a person being wheeled away from the BMW tents on a stretcher, accompanied by a dog and two paramedics, a Las Vegas police representative confirmed to CNET that there were no serious injuries at the scene.

However, the driver may be on the hook for quite a bit of money: according to another CES attendee who test-drove one of BMW's vehicles Friday, Guillermo Sierra, the car company had been asking would-be drivers to sign a waiver acknowledging that they'd need to pay the full value of the vehicle if it were damaged. "'You break it, you buy it': those were his exact words," he told CNET. A new BMW M6 starts at a retail price of $113,700.

Charges against the driver are pending, according to BMW.