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Tesla driver killed after crashing into fire truck on freeway

Tesla driver killed after crashing into fire truck on freeway

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WALNUT CREEK, Calif. — A Tesla driver was killed and a passenger was seriously injured Saturday when the car crashed into a fire truck parked on a Northern California freeway to protect a crew who were cleaning up another crash, they said firefighters.

Four firefighters who were in the truck when it was struck on Interstate 680 were being treated for minor injuries, said Tracie Dutter, deputy chief of the Contra Costa County fire protection district.

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene, Dutter said. The car had to be cut open to remove the passenger, who was taken to hospital.

Photos showed the front end of the car was crushed and the $1.4 million ladder truck was damaged.

California Highway Patrol Officer Adam Lane said it’s not clear if the driver may have been intoxicated or if the Tesla Model S was operating with automation or driver-assistance features.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is studying how Tesla’s Autopilot system detects and responds to emergency vehicles parked on highways. At least 14 Teslas have collided with emergency vehicles while using the system.

Dutter said the truck had its lights on and was parked diagonally in the northbound lanes of the freeway to protect emergency responders from a previous accident that did not result in injuries.

The fatal accident happened around 4 a.m., clearing the highway took several hours. The fire truck had to be towed.

The Model S was among nearly 363,000 vehicles that Tesla recalled Thursday due to possible flaws in its “Full Self-Driving” system. While the recall aims to address potential intersection and speed limit issues, it comes amid a broader investigation into Tesla’s automated driving systems by US safety agencies.

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