Texas Police Will Demand Tesla Hands Over Data From a Fatal Crash, After Elon Musk Denied the Car Was Running on Autopilot
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The Tesla Model S was traveling fast just outside of Houston when it ran off a road, crashed into a tree, and burst into flames, authorities said. Evidence suggested no one was in the driver's seat, police said. First responders found the bodies of two men, one in the passenger's seat and one in a back seat.
Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO, tweeted on Monday that data logs showed that the car wasn't running on Autopilot, Tesla's driver-assistance feature, and that it didn't have "Full Self-Driving" enabled. FSD is a $10,000 add-on that recognizes traffic lights and stop signs, and can self-park.
Mark Herman, a senior police officer in Harris County, told Reuters on Monday that Musk's tweet was the first statement officials had seen from Tesla. Police plan to serve warrants to get data on the crash, he said.
"If he is tweeting that out, if he has already pulled the data, he hasn't told us that," Herman said. "We will eagerly wait for that data."
He added that police had "witness statements from people that said they left to test drive the vehicle without a driver and to show the friend how it can drive itself."
Tesla didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
Firefighters spent four hours trying to extinguish the fire and used 32,000 gallons of water because Tesla's lithium-ion batteries kept reigniting.
Saturday's incident is the 28th Tesla crash to be investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Autopilot has played a role in more than 20 of these Tesla crashes, Reuters reported in March.