Police report two occupants, neither in driver seat
Both occupants killed in fire that took 30,000 gallons of water to extinguish
A deadly crash involving a Tesla Model S near Houston over the weekend saw two dead but nobody in the driver’s seat, according to local police, suggesting that one of the vehicle’s semi-automated driving modes was in use at the time of the crash.
The crash happened Saturday night in a suburb north of Houston, reports K-HOU TV News. According to the report, Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman said that a 2019 Tesla Model S was travelling at a high ware of speed when it came to a slight curve.
Deputies said that the car failed to negotiate the curve, then crashed into a tree and burst into flame. The report said it took nearly four hours and more than 30,000 gallons of water to extinguish the fire. “Normally when the fire department arrives, they have the vehicle fire in control in minutes, but this went on close to four hours,” said Herman, who also said crews had to call Tesla to ask how to extinguish the blaze.
Once the fire was out, deputies recovered two bodies, one in the front passenger seat and one in the rear seat.
“They are 100 percent certain that no one was in the driver seat driving that vehicle at the time of impact. They are positive,” Herman told K-HOU. “And again, the height from the back seat to the front seat, that would be almost impossible, but again our investigators are trained. They handle collisions. 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.”
The fatal crash comes amid ongoing concerns about Tesla’s driver assistance systems, including the capability of the technologies called Autopilot and Full Self Driving, as well as how they’re marketed to consumers. The investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing.