The Tesla driver killed while his Model S was in autopilot was watching a Harry Potter movie, according to the truck driver who collided with him.
Joshua Brown, 40, who is the first known victim of a crash involving a semi-autonomous car, was “playing Harry Potter on the TV screen,” according to truck driver Frank Baressi.
Baressi also alleges that Brown was driving so quickly that “he went so fast through my trailer I didn’t see him.”
Baressi didn’t respond to requests for comment at first, but claims the Harry Potter movie “was still playing when he died and snapped a telephone pole a quarter mile down the road.”
The testimony raises fresh questions about the crash that occurred back in May after Brown switched to autopilot mode.
Tesla Deflect Blame
According to Tesla’s own version of events, the bright spring sky prevented the Model S’s sensor system from spotting the 18-wheel truck and trailer.
Tesla explained that the Model S was still travelling at full speed when it attempted to go under the trailer “with the bottom of the trailer impacting the windshield of the Model S.”
The top of the car was ripped off.
Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk tweeted his sympathies, but in a carefully worded statement he tried to deflect blame for the crash from Tesla.
“Among all vehicles in the U.S., there is a fatality every 94,000,000 miles,” read the statement.
“Autopilot is getting better all the time, but it is not perfect and still requires the driver to remain alert.”
The fatal crash is a PR disaster for the fledgling autonomous car industry.
Remarkably, Tesla Motor Inc’s shares were only down by around 0.8% on Friday.
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