Who is Param Sharma? 'Insta's biggest jerk' arrested for backseat driving a Tesla, does it again with new car
Param Sharma, often dubbed 'the most hated kid on Instagram', is back in the news. This time, the influencer was caught backseat driving a Tesla, and even did it again after just being released from jail. The shocking disregard for public safety was caught on camera, thanks to videos posted by Sharma after he was released.
In the first week of May, Sharma was repeatedly spotted in the backseat of his Tesla Model S, with no driver in the front. He did this dangerous stunt all over San Francisco, taking advantage of Tesla's autopilot system. Reportedly, Sharma was using his foot to apply pressure on the steering wheel.
While the cars come with an autopilot feature, the company and road safety authorities have cautioned against its misuse. "Autopilot is a hands-on driver assistance system that is intended to be used only with a fully attentive driver. It does not turn a Tesla into a self-driving car," states Tesla's website.
Before enabling autopilot, drivers must agree to keep their "hands on the steering wheel at all times" and to always "maintain control and responsibility for the car." California law says that autopilot cars have someone behind the steering wheel at all times.
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Despite the flagrant violation, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) acted only after multiple images and videos were posted on social media. On May 10, they arrested Sharma on Interstate 80. According to the CHP's statement, Sharma was booked into Santa Rita Jail on two counts of reckless driving and disobeying a Peace Officer. Here's everything we know about Sharma, and what happened to him after his arrest.
Who is Param Sharma?
The 25-year-old goes by the name of 'Lavish' on social media. He's a well-known Instagram influencer who is hated for his rich-kid antics. In the past, Sharma has called common people “peasants”, flushed expensive champaign down the toilet; he frequently flaunts his Rolex watches and expensive cars. His obnoxious display of wealth has also earned him tags like 'Instagram’s Biggest Jerk', but he doesn't seem to care.
Despite his overwhelming fame, not much is known about Sharma. He keeps his private life incredibly private, and repeated attempts by journalists have failed to find out who his parents are. In fact, at one point, he was beleived to be the son of Shikha Sharma, the then-CEO of one of India's laregest banks Axis Bank. Those speculations were put to rest when the bank put out a statement debunking the rumors.
SFGate managed to do some digging and find out that Sharma went to Albany High School sometime in the 2010s. They also noted that he has been cited in the past for reckless driving, so this clearly isn't his first rodeo. Sharma also released his own rap song, called 'I Get Everything I Want' in 2013.
All that's known for sure is that his family is incredibly rich. So rich that he has no qualms about landing in legal trouble. In 2014, he ended up in jail for selling a stolen iPhone on Craigslist. He was sentenced to 90 days in Santa Rita jail, after a dramatic incident of the case files going missing. Now, he's back in again, and by the sounds of it, isn't apologetic at all.
Arrested and does it again
After being arrested on May 10, he was released a day later. On his way out of the jail on May 11, he told local channel KTVU, "I’m gonna go in the back seat right now. You feel me? I’m waiting for my car to charge." He defended his antics, saying, "Elon Musk really knows what he’s doing and I think people are tripping and they’re scared." According to reports, he went back home in a friend's Tesla, riding in the backseat again. He later posted mutliple Instagram videos showing him in another Tesla, but not in the driver's seat.
As if that wasn't insulting enough, he even shared a screenshot of the story on Instagram and captioned it, "I came outta the pandemic in a self driving car U blue blue collar peasants can’t understand my life". In another post, he said he got another Tesla and was seen on video sitting in the passenger's seat. Sharma may be extolling the virtues of Tesla's autopilot, but the company, nor the government endorses such reckless behaviour.
From the looks of things, Sharma clearly has no shame or remorse, and is likely to continue putting motorists in San Francisco at risk. If you are driving around town, better watch out for 'Lavish', because he certainly believes in the power of autopilot even if few others do.