Billionaire innovator Elon Musk brought us PayPal and SpaceX, but he is also the genius behind Tesla Motors. Tesla’s electric vehicles are sporty and environmentally friendly and come with a host of innovative features. One of those features may be causing accidents. Known as the autopilot feature, it is available on many of their models and can help drivers to avoid accidents caused by following too closely or drifting into an adjoining lane. However, some owners may be taking the term “autopilot” too seriously, taking their hands off of the wheel and letting the car drive itself, something that it isn’t completely capable of achieving.
NBC Miami reports that a local man wants answers after a man driving a Tesla who may have had autopilot engaged hit him and killed his girlfriend.
Nearly four months ago, 27-year-old Dillon Angulo and his girlfriend, 22-year-old Naibel Benavides were standing outside of their truck. The truck was parked off Card Sound Road when they were hit by a car.
The impact threw Benavides into some nearby bushes, where she was discovered by paramedics. She died shortly after arriving at the hospital. Angulo suffered from a traumatic brain injury which has affected his memory. He does not remember the crash.
The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the crash. According to the accident report, George McGee was driving a 2019 Tesla Model S when he ran a stop sign, a flashing red traffic signal, and knocked down another traffic sign before he plowed into the couple.
The couple and the truck were parked 40 feet off the road.
Another part of the investigation is determining whether McGee was using the vehicle’s autopilot feature at the time of the crash. McGee also told police that he took his hands off of the wheel to pick up a phone that he dropped.
Even though the police report lists that McGee was driving in a reckless manner, he left the scene without being ticketed. He was also not given any sobriety tests.
The Monroe County State Attorney has met with the Florida Highway Patrol to discuss the crash, but no charges have been filed against McGee.