Two fatalities reported after Tesla car ‘on autopilot’ crashes

WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:

  • A Tesla car crashed in the Carlton Woods in Spring, Texas, on Saturday, carrying two male passengers who passed away due to the accident.
  • Authorities believed that the vehicle was on autopilot since there was no one on the driver’s seat.
  • Officials are investigating if Tesla could be at fault.

Officials said that two men succumbed to death after crashing their Tesla car into a tree, which burst into flames, as the vehicle was believed to be on autopilot mode.

According to CBS affiliate KHOU, the accident happened at about 11:25 in the evening at the Carlton Woods, a subdivision of Spring on Saturday.

Speaking with the news outlet, Harris County Pct. 4 Constable Mark Herman said that a 2019 Tesla Model S was accelerating at a high speed as it carried two men when it approached a slight curve in a highway.

Herman told the New York Times that the vehicle deviated and drove over 100 feet off the course before hitting a tree and caught fire.

Per KHOU, firefighters quickly responded as they worked to fire out the enormous flames. The responders used over 30,000 gallons of water in almost four hours just to kill the fire, not to mention that they also reached out to Tesla to know how they would put out the blaze, Herman said.

“Normally when the fire department arrives, they have the vehicle fire in control in minutes… But this went on close to four hours,” Herman explained to the Houston-based outlet.

Tesla did not provide an immediate comment to PEOPLE’s request.

Officials examined the vehicle after the blaze was out, and found two bodies inside, one sitting in the front passenger and one in the backseat, Herman said.

In one interview with the victims’ wives, they said that they were with them minutes before the incident, and they shared that their husbands were talking about Tesla’s Autopilot features, the Times reported.

Speaking with CNN, Herman said that authorities believed that neither of the two passengers was driving the car.

“I can tell you our investigators are certain no one was in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash,” he said.

Investigators were “100 percent certain that no one was in the driver seat driving that vehicle at the time of impact. They are positive. The height from the back seat to the front seat, that would be almost impossible,” according to Herman.

“But again our investigators are trained. They handle collisions,” he continued. “Several of our folks are reconstructionists, but they feel very confident just with the positioning of the bodies after the impact that there was no one driving that vehicle.”

Herman told KHOU that the incident is still undergoing investigation. 

Coincidentally, the accident happened just hours after company CEO Elon Musk tweeted that “Tesla with Autopilot engaged now approaching 10 times lower chance of accident than an average vehicle.”

Investigators were probing whether the crash happened due to a malfunction of Tesla’s Autopilot system, KHOU reported.

Source: PEOPLE.com

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