Investigators say Autopilot feature was not on during deadly San Francisco Tesla crash

Lyanne Melendez Image
Thursday, July 25, 2019
Investigators say Autopilot feature was not on during deadly San Francisco Tesla crash
Investigators say that preliminary information shows the Autopilot feature was not on during a Tesla crash in San Francisco that killed a Central Valley man and injured his wife.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco Police are now saying that the "autopilot driver assist feature" was not in operation in the Tesla that hit two pedestrians last Sunday afternoon.

According to police, this means that the 21-year-old driver appears to be at fault.

The preliminary information given to reporters by SFPD states that when the car ran through a red light hitting the two pedestrians, killing one of them, the driver was in full control.

EXCLUSIVE: Video shows wife shielding husband before deadly SF crash

In the video, you can see that Kelly Dean saw the Tesla coming, stopped, and threw her arm across her husband before the Tesla hit them both.

We asked Joe Nannery, a former SFPD lieutenant who is well-informed when it comes to Teslas, if not on autopilot can we say the driver was at fault?

"So far that's what it looks like, yes. Speed was the primary collision factor," said Nannery.

SFPD would not talk to reporters today, only to say that they are preparing search warrants to obtain more information from the car's data storage device which they took out after the accident.

We asked Nannery, "Why a search warrant?"

"It's a pretty common procedure for a big company if you are going to ask for records that they maintain that you would want a search warrant if you are going to want those records released to you," he explained.

Tesla is known for fighting customers in court to refrain from giving up any data.

With this system, everything the driver does is recorded, so they can't say claim that the light had not changed.

"Obviously there will be video cameras on that car, the time this event happened, and if it does show the lights at the intersection, that's even better," said Nannery.

What Nannery is most concerned about is that the online rental company "GetAround" allows anyone as young as 19-years-old and without any prior knowledge to drive a Tesla Model S.

He insists that driving a Tesla is not like driving an ordinary car.

"It's not a type of car that most people just go rent arbitrarily and get into and drive. This is kind of an anomaly," expressed Nannery.