Telsa: ‘Unlikely it’s semi-autonomous autopilot system was engaged’

(Provided Photo/IFD)
(Provided Photo/IFD)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP/WISH) — Telsa released a statement Friday after Indianapolis police investigated a fiery crash that killed two people. Police investigated whether the electric car’s autopilot was engaged.

Tesla Motors said it’s unlikely that its semi-autonomous Autopilot system was engaged when a Model S crashed in Indianapolis, killing the driver and a passenger.

In a statement issued late Thursday, the electric car maker said it’s cooperating with Indianapolis police, who are investigating the Thursday crash.

“We are deeply saddened to hear that this accident involved fatalities and have been working with authorities to offer our full cooperation. Due to the damaged caused by the collision, the car was physically incapable of transmitting log data to our servers. However, had Autopilot been engaged it would have limited the vehicle’s speed to less than 35 mph on this street, which is inconsistent with witness statements and the damage sustained.”

Witnesses reported the Tesla was travelling at a high rate of speed about 1 a.m. Thursday when it hit a tree, crashed into a building and caught fire, leaving a trail of burning battery components.

Authorities say the near north side crash killed 27-year-old driver Casey Speckman and 44-year-old passenger Kevin McCarthy.

Police spokesman Maj. Richard Riddle says investigators were looking at whether the car’s autopilot was engaged, and if so whether that was a factor in the crash.

The Indianapolis Fire Department’s Kevin Jones released a statement during a press conference Thursday.

“I mentioned earlier, if you have collisions at high rates of speed with impacts like that, regardless if it’s a traditional power vehicle via gasoline or hybrid or all electric, you can see a fire in a vehicle like that or severe damage. And so to say it was simply because it was an electric vehicle, you can’t say that because we’ve seen collisions that are non-electric vehicles with just as bad of damage or fire.”

When Tesla updated its autopilot software earlier this year, the company said the system would not go more than 5 mph over the speed limit on an undivided highway.