Story at a glance

  • Steven Michael Hendrickson, 35, was killed on May 5 in Fontana, Calif., when his Tesla Model 3 collided with an overturned semitruck on a freeway.
  • The outlet reports Hendrickson at one point had posted a video to his Instagram account showing him in the driver’s seat with no hands on the wheel or foot on the pedal as the vehicle drove on the freeway.
  • “There has not been a final determination made as to what driving mode the Tesla was in or if it was a contributing factor to the crash,” the California Highway Patrol said, according to the AP.

A California man who died after crashing his Tesla earlier this month had previously posted videos on social media of himself riding in the vehicle without his hands on the wheel or foot on the pedal, according to The Associated Press (AP)

Steven Michael Hendrickson, 35, was killed on May 5 in Fontana, Calif., when his Tesla Model 3 collided with an overturned semitruck on a freeway. A man who was assisting the semitruck driver was also seriously injured in the crash. 


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The California Highway Patrol (CHP) on Thursday said a preliminary investigation found the vehicle’s Autopilot feature was engaged before the crash, but authorities later walked back that claim.  

"There has not been a final determination made as to what driving mode the Tesla was in or if it was a contributing factor to the crash," CHP said, according to the AP.

The outlet reports Hendrickson at one point had posted a video to his Instagram account showing him in the driver’s seat with no hands on the wheel or foot on the pedal as the vehicle drove on the freeway. 

Tesla’s Autopilot system allows the cars to brake, accelerate and change lanes automatically. But Tesla says the feature does not make the car fully autonomous and requires driver supervision. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating more than two dozen accidents involving Tesla vehicles.

At least three people have died in the U.S. in car accidents involving Autopilot, according to AP. 


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Published on May 17, 2021