The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its preliminary report on Monday into the fatal Tesla crash that occurred in Texas last month.
According to the early report, the NTSB says the owner of the Model S was seen entering the car’s driver seat before the crash, according to home security footage, reports Bloomberg.
The Model S owner was seen entering the car and driving away, said the NTSB. “The car leaves and travels about 550 feet before departing the road on a curve, driving over the curb, and hitting a drainage culvert, a raised manhole and a tree,” explained the report.
Originally, early reports after the deadly crash said nobody was behind the wheel. After the crash, which resulted in a fire, bodies were found in the front passenger and rear seats.
The NTSB report did not clarify whether the driver was still behind the wheel at the time of the crash. Tesla said early on its Autopilot driver assistance tech was not enabled before the crash.
Tesla’s Autosteer technology was tested on another vehicle by the NTSB, which concluded the latter could have been enabled at the time.
The crash occurred in greater Houston, in a neighbourhood known as The Woodlands, with William Varner, 59, and Everette Talbot, 69, killed in the Model S crash.
During Tesla’s Q1 2021 earnings call, Lars Moravy, Tesla’s vice president of vehicle engineering, said an early joint investigation showed the cars’s steering wheel as “deformed”, suggesting someone was driving the car prior.