Last month, a devastating crash involving a Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model S left two dead. Initial statements from police on the scene said they didn't think anyone was in the driver's seat at the time of the crash. Soon after, CEO Elon Musk said initial data looked to show Autopilot wasn't involved.
Now, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued a preliminary report with initial findings on the April crash.
The NTSB report states security footage shows the owner of the vehicle getting into the driver seat, and driving 550 feet before driving over the curb, hitting a drainage culvert, a raised manhole and a tree.
The front of the car's battery pack was damaged, which is where the fire started. The fire destroyed the car, including the onboard storage device inside the infotainment console. The car’s restraint control module, which records data like vehicle speed, seatbelt status, acceleration, and airbag deployment, was recovered but damaged in the fire. It's currently being evaluated in the NTSB laboratory.
While the vehicle was equipped with Autopilot, the NTSB said it took a test car to the scene and tried to engage the system. They couldn't engage Autopilot due to the lack of painted lane lines, although they were able to use traffic-aware cruise control. There were no posted speed limits between the start of the drive and crash site, but the limit was 30 miles per hour.
The NTSB said the investigation is ongoing. The NTSB is working with the Harris County Texas Precinct 4 Constable’s Office which is conducting its own investigation. Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Tesla are working with the NTSB to support the investigation.
Photo courtesy of NTSB.