A Tesla driver killed in a California crash had posted movies of himself driving with out his arms on the wheel — with investigators probing whether or not the car’s Autopilot mode was “a contributing factor.”
Steven Michael Hendrickson, a 35-year-old father of two, died round 2:30 a.m. on May 5 when his white Tesla Model 3 struck an overturned semi on a freeway in Fontana, about 50 miles east of Los Angeles.
Another man was critically injured when the electrical automobile hit him as he was serving to the semi’s driver out of the wreck.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) initially stated Thursday that the automobile’s Autopilot “was engaged” previous to the crash, however later walked it again to say there “has not been a final determination made.”
But Hendrickson commonly posted about his love for his automobile on his social media — together with a number of posts bragging about the car driving unaided.
One video on his Instagram account confirmed him using in the driver’s seat with out his arms on the wheel or foot on the pedal because the Tesla navigated freeway site visitors.
“Best carpool buddy possible even takes the boring traffic for me,” he wrote alongside the clip.
He additionally posted two movies of a person driving together with his arms off the wheel on Tiktok.
“What would do I do without my full self-driving Tesla after a long day at work,” stated a message on one. “Coming home from LA after work, thank god, self-drive,” stated a touch upon one other, including, “Best car ever!”
On his Facebook account, Hendrickson was capturing a video whereas driving on autopilot, saying, “Don’t worry. I am on autopilot.”
Hendrickson was “active” in the Tesla Club-SoCal, which stated it was organizing a remembrance drive in his reminiscence.
“Every time we spoke to him, he would light up talking about his kids and loved his Tesla,” the membership posted on Instagram. “He was really a tremendous human being and will likely be missed!
A GoFundMe web page set as much as elevate cash for his funeral and memorial service says Hendrickson was survived by his spouse and two youngsters. A message looking for remark from his spouse has not been returned.
The CHP stated it solely commented on the lethal crash as a result of it was “an opportunity to remind the public that driving is a complex task that requires a driver’s full attention.”
The crash can be underneath investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — the twenty ninth case involving a Tesla that the federal company has probed.
At least three folks have died in earlier US crashes involving Autopilot.
In two Florida crashes, from 2016 and 2019, automobiles with Autopilot in use drove beneath crossing tractor-trailers, killing the Tesla drivers. In a 2018 crash in Mountain View, California, an Apple engineer driving on Autopilot was killed when his Tesla struck a freeway barrier.
Tesla, which has disbanded its public relations division, has not responded to requests for remark.
The firm says in proprietor’s manuals and on its website that each Autopilot and “Full Self-Driving” aren’t totally autonomous and that drivers should listen and be able to intervene at any time.
With Post wires