A cleanup for a crash on a northern California freeway turned deadly Saturday after a Tesla plowed into a fire truck protecting first responders working another crash.
The driver of the Tesla Model S was killed when the car struck the truck parked on Interstate 680 around 4 a.m., according to the Contra Costa Fire Protection District. A passenger was also critically injured.
Assistant Chief Tracie Dutter said four firefighters in the ladder truck were treated for minor injuries.
Multiple photos posted on the agency’s Facebook page showed the Tesla with a crushed front end as the $1.4 million truck prepared to be towed.
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Dutter said the truck had lights on and was parked diagonally in the northbound lanes of the highway to protect first responders who were working on a previous accident that resulted in no injuries.
California Highway Patrol Officer Adam Lane said it was not immediately known if the driver was intoxicated or if the Tesla was operating with automation or driver assistance features, according to The Associated Press.
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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is actively investigating how Tesla’s Autopilot system detects and responds to emergency vehicles parked on highways after at least 16 accidents involving parked police or fire vehicles.
On Thursday, Tesla recalled nearly 363,000 vehicles due to potential defects in the “Full Self-Driving” mode. The recall included 2016-2023 Model S and Model X, 2017-2023 Model 3, and 2020-2023 Model Y vehicles equipped with or pending installation of FSD Beta software.
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NHTSA said its “investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot and related vehicle systems remains open and active” despite the FSD recall.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.