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NTSB says driver moved to front seat in Tesla just before deadly crash

NTSB says driver moved to front seat in Tesla just before deadly crash
© Greg Nash

A report by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) showed the owner of a Tesla got into the driver's seat shortly before a deadly crash outside of Houston but it did not explain why no one was found behind the wheel of the car, which burst into flames 550 feet from the owner's home.

The NTSB released a preliminary report Monday that said the owner of the Tesla, 59, left his home and entered his vehicle’s driver seat along with a passenger, 69, who were both killed.

The report stated the car, a Model S P100D, was equipped with the car’s “Autopilot” system but the report does not conclude if the system had been operating at the time of the crash.

Both the owner and passenger of the Tesla died in the crash after the vehicle departed the road on a curve, driving over the curb and hitting a drainage culvert, a raised manhole and a tree last month. The fire caused the vehicle’s onboard data storage device and restraint control module to be damaged. 

The NTSB is still investigating the crash.