The fire truck was parked on Interstate 680 in Walnut Creek at the time of the accident to help cover crews who were responding to another accident, according to reports. Photos show the front end of the Tesla car was crushed and the $1.4 million ladder truck was damaged.
Contra Costa County Fire District Assistant Chief Tracie Dutter said four firefighters suffered minor injuries and the driver of the Tesla was pronounced dead at the scene, while the car needed to be cut open to transport another passenger to the hospital.
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
California Highway Patrol Officer Adam Lane said it was unclear whether the driver was driving under the influence or whether the Tesla Model S involved had features such as autopilot or assisted driving turned on.
This comes as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been investigating how Tesla's Autopilot system detects and responds to stopping emergency vehicles on the highway. At least 14 Teslas have crashed into emergency vehicles while using the system, the report said.
Notably, on Thursday, a Model 3 went out of control in China, killing a passenger on the spot and leaving the driver in critical condition.
The recall comes just after Tesla announced a recall of about 362,800 vehicles due to a potential defect in its fully automated driving system. While the recall is intended to correct possible problems with intersections and speed limits, U.S. safety regulators are conducting a broader investigation into Tesla's Autopilot system, the report noted.