Tesla Driver Dead After Plowing Into Parked Fire Truck Working Earlier Accident
The driver of a Tesla was killed early Saturday and a passenger was critically injured when the Model S in which they were riding collided with a fire truck.
The truck had been parked on I-680, the East Bay Freeway, in Walnut Creek, California, to protect another crew that was clearing away the wreckage from an earlier accident, according to KNTV.
Four firefighters were injured in the accident, which took place shortly before 4 a.m., according to Tracie Dutter, assistant chief of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.
One person is dead in the wake of a crash in which a Tesla hit a fire truck on northbound Interstate 680 near the Treat Boulevard offramp in Walnut Creek early Saturday morning, fire officials said. https://t.co/ed7kUG9uBE
— KTVU (@KTVU) February 19, 2023
The Tesla driver was declared dead at the scene, Dutter said. The car needed to be cut open to remove the passenger, who was taken to the hospital.
The front end of the Tesla crumped from the impact, while the $1.4 million ladder truck was damaged. According to CBS, the damage to the truck was enough to put it out of service for some time.
Slow down and move over when approaching emergency vehicles. Truck 1 was struck by a Tesla while blocking I-680 lanes from a previous accident. Driver pronounced dead on-scene; passenger was extricated & transported to hospital. Four firefighters also transported for evaluation. pic.twitter.com/YCGn8We1bK
— Con Fire PIO (@ContraCostaFire) February 18, 2023
Contra Costa County Fire Captain Chris DeMeo said the impact was “very jolting. It didn’t feel like it was real. All my equipment went forward,” according to KGO-TV.
Parts of the car skidded under the fire truck, he said. Firefighters responded by trying to save the occupants of the Tesla.
“We’re trying to cut these people out and save victims,” DeMeo said.
“The thing is I’m proud of my guys. Just as much as we were in an accident, they all jumped in and starting doing their job, go, go, go,” he said.
DeMeo said during the attempted rescue, another car narrowly missed hitting the firefighters.
DeMeo said four firefighters were treated for lower back pain, and one suffered a cut on a hand.
California Highway Patrol Officer Adam Lane said it was not known whether the Tesla was operating under an assist or self-driving mode, according to KNTV.
Due to a spate of collisions, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating the Tesla autopilot system’s ability to deal with emergency vehicles parked on roadways.
On Thursday, Tesla recalled nearly 363,000 vehicles due to possible issues with the “Full Self-Driving” mode. Model S vehicles from 2016 through 2023 were included in that recall.
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