Indianapolis Police Are Investigating a Fatal Crash Involving Tesla
Tesla’s Autopilot feature is reportedly under investigation in Indiana.
Indianapolis Police spokesperson Maj. Richard Riddle said the department was looking into whether the car’s Autopilot mode played a role in an accident that killed 27-year-old driver Casey Speckman and 44-year-old passenger Kevin McCarthy early Thursday, according to the Associated Press.
Witnesses at the time told the Indianapolis fire department that the 2015 Tesla Model S car was driving very fast and seemed to lose control before crashing into a tree around 1 a.m. It left a debris field over 150 yards long and caused several fires. The car’s lithium ion battery cells also fired off “almost like projectiles,” according to Fox.
Tesla (TSLA) wrote in a statement that given the state of the crash, it’s highly unlikely that Autopilot had anything to do with the accident.
“We are deeply saddened to hear that this accident involved fatalities and have been working with authorities to offer our full cooperation,” a Tesla spokesperson wrote in a statement. “Due to the damaged caused by the collision, the car was physically incapable of transmitting log data to our servers. However, had Autopilot been engaged it would have limited the vehicle’s speed to less than 35 mph on this street, which is inconsistent with witness statements and the damage sustained.”
Tesla has been in contact with the Indianapolis fire department regarding the crash as well.
This isn’t the first time Tesla’s Autopilot feature has come under scrutiny. Joshua Brown was driving a Model S, and had engaged the Autopilot feature collided with a semitrailer truck in Florida back in May. And months after that in China, a man blamed his son’s car accident on a fault in the autopilot system.