WALNUT CREEK, Calif. — A Tesla driver rammed a fire truck parked on a Northern California highway Saturday to protect crew members clearing up another accident, seriously injuring a passenger, fire officials said. said.
Four firefighters who were in the truck when it collided on Interstate 680 were treated for minor injuries, said Tracie Dutter, assistant chief of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.
Dutter said the driver was pronounced dead at the scene. The car had to be cut open to remove the passengers who were taken to the hospital.
Photos showed the front end of the car being crushed and the $1.4 million ladder truck damaged.
Adam Lane of California Highway Patrol said it was unclear if the driver was intoxicated or if the Tesla Model S had self-driving or driver-assist features.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Explore how Tesla’s Autopilot system detects and responds to emergency vehicles parked on the highwayAt least 14 Teslas have been hit by emergency vehicles while using this system.
Dutter said the truck parked at an angle in the north-facing lane of the highway with its lights on, protecting responders from previous accidents that did not result in injuries.
The fatal accident occurred around 4:00 a.m. and took several hours to clear the highway. The fire engine had to be towed.
The Model S was one of about 363,000 cars Tesla recalled Thursday due to a potential flaw in its “fully self-driving” system. The recall, which is intended to fix issues with intersections and speed limits, comes amid an extensive investigation by US safety regulators into Tesla’s self-driving system.