NTSB: Driver was behind wheel at time of fiery Texas Tesla crash

News

DETROIT (AP) — A driver was behind the wheel when a Tesla electric car crashed and burned last April in Houston, killing two men, neither of whom was found in the driver’s seat.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced the findings in an investigative report released Thursday on the April 17 crash on a residential road in Spring, Texas.

Although first responders found one man in the back seat and the other in the front passenger seat, the NTSB said both the driver and a passenger were in the front seats with belts buckled at the time of the crash.

The agency said the car was traveling up to 67 mph in the five seconds leading up to the crash.

MORE | Two killed in fiery Tesla crash without anyone in the driver’s seat

In a preliminary report released in May, the NTSB said home security camera footage showed that the owner of the Tesla Model S got into the driver’s seat of the car shortly before the deadly crash.

Investigators found that the steering wheel had been damaged by an impact, presumably from the driver.

In the same report, the NTSB said it tested a different Tesla vehicle on the same road, and the Autopilot driver-assist system could not be fully used.

NHTSA has stepped up its investigations into Tesla Autopilot. In August, it opened a formal investigation into the system after a series of collisions with parked emergency vehicles.

The investigation covers 765,000 vehicles, almost everything that Tesla has sold in the U.S. since the start of the 2014 model year. Of the crashes identified as part of the probe, 17 people were injured and one was killed.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories