Feds to investigate ‘violent’ Tesla vs. semi T-Bone crash

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is sending a team to investigate a crash that left a Tesla sedan wedged underneath a semi trailer last week.

The crash occurred at 3:20 a.m. on March 11 in southwest Detroit, Michigan.

Police say that a man and woman were inside the Tesla when the car passed through the intersection of Waterman and Fort Street, colliding with a semi trailer.

The crash left the Tesla partially wedged underneath the trailer.

Both people inside the Tesla were taken to the hospital for treatment. The passenger was listed in critical condition.

Detroit police have been unable to determine whether the Tesla’s Autopilot function was in use at the time of the collision. Anyone with information on the crash is asked to call the Detroit Police Department’s Fatal Squad at 313-596-2260.

On the evening of March 15, the NHTSA confirmed that they were sending a team to investigate the “violent crash.”

The March 11 crash is similar to two other high profile crashes involving Teslas crashing under semi trailers while Autopilot mode was engaged.

A March 1, 2019, crash in Delray Beach, Florida left 50 year old Jeremy Banner dead after he crashed into a truck that was making a turn from an access road onto southbound US 441/SR 7, which resulted in “the roof [of the Tesla] being sheared off as it passed underneath” the trailer. The Tesla continued driving for several blocks before it came to a stop after the crash.

Roof sheared off of Tesla in fatal crash with turning semi truck

A similar crash occurred on May 7, 2016, on U.S. 27 in Williston, Florida. The Tesla occupied by Joshua Brown, 40, was in Autopilot mode when a tractor trailer made a left turn in front of it. The top of the Tesla was sheared off as it went under the trailer. The Tesla continued driving for about a quarter of a mile after the crash. Brown died at the scene.

Tesla has stated that Autopilot is a driver assist technology and that drivers must be prepared to take the wheel and react at any time.