Two men died after the driverless Tesla they were traveling in crashed with no one behind the wheel on the night of Saturday, April 17, officials in The Woodlands, Texas, said.
The 2019 Tesla Model S ran off a suburban parkway, hit a tree, and burst into flames, killing two men, aged 59 and 69, in the car, according to local news reports. One person was found in the front passenger seat and the other was in the backseat.
According to Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman, investigators are “positive” that no one was driving the vehicle involved in the crash, local media reported.
Video filmed by Scott Engle shows officers from the Harris County constable, firefighters, and a hazardous materials team at the scene of the crash and blaze that took nearly four hours to extinguish, Engle told Storyful.
Investigators said on Monday they were still trying to determine if Tesla’s autopilot or self-driving systems were in use, according to local media.
A spokesperson for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) told Storyful that two of its investigators were expected to arrive at the scene Monday afternoon to conduct a safety investigation of the crash.
Tesla had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.
A Tesla vehicle with autopilot engaged has a “10 times lower chance” of being in an accident compared to an average vehicle, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Saturday prior to the crash, citing the company’s safety report for the first quarter of 2021.
Storyful has reached out to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Harris County authorities for comment. Credit: Scott Engle via Storyful