HOUSTON – An investigation conducted by Tesla over the past week indicates someone was likely in the driver’s seat of a car that crashed near The Woodlands and killed two people, a representative of the company said Monday.
The assertion about the fiery April 17 crash that killed Dr. William Varner and his friend, Everette Talbot, was made during a corporate quarterly earnings call.
While answering a question about how public relations are being handled regarding the crash, Tesla CEO Elon Musk called stories about autopilot being used by the vehicle in question “completely false.” In the days that followed the crash, Musk said in a tweet that “autopilot was not enabled.”
A representative of the company continued the answer by saying Tesla had conducted a study with authorities over the past week to determine what led to the crash.
“What we have learned from that effort was that auto-steer did not and could not engage on the road condition, as it was designed,” the spokesman said.
The vehicle was traveling at about 30 mph before it was disengaged and brought to a stop when the driver’s seat belt was unbuckled, according to the spokesman. He said an examination of the vehicle also revealed details regarding who was possibly in the vehicle.
“The steering wheel was indeed deformed, leading to a likelihood that someone was in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash,” the company representative said during the call.