Detroit police blame driver for Tesla accident involving seriously injured truck

DETROIT – Detroit Police Department Deputy Director David LeValley recently spoke to Local 4 News about the accident that occurred last Thursday involving a Tesla and a tractor trailer in southwest Detroit.

The accident left Tesla passenger Esmeralda Barco, 21, seriously injured.

“It appears that speed was a major factor in the collision. All the clues we have at this point are that the vehicle was not in autopilot mode, that the driver was in control of the vehicle at the time of the accident, ”LeValley said.

Read: Was it an autopilot or driver error? Feds investigate Tesla crash on Detroit’s west side

Read more: US sends team to Detroit to investigate Tesla-semi crash


Despite preliminary information provided Tuesday morning later in the week, DPD investigators will meet with officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other agencies to search for clues that may still be hidden.

“The individuals from that agency along with the officer in charge of the case here in Detroit and the Michigan State Police will remove a black box and an SD card from that Tesla,” LeValley said.

DPD was unable to comment on what exactly those cards entail, although the wrecked vehicle is still in their possession.

“We believe that once we look at that black box and download that information along with the information that is on the SD card, we will be able to determine with certainty whether the vehicle was on autopilot or not,” he added. LeValley.

It’s all part of a larger investigation conducted on behalf of the NHTSA to determine if there is any connection to two Florida accidents that also involved Teslas.


“As I understand it, there are some other crashes involving Tesla vehicles in other parts of the country,” LeValley said.

Only those crashes were fatal and the autonomous driving function was being used. From now on, all the blame falls on the person behind the wheel.

“They reviewed that and cleared the charges today, accusing the driver of reckless driving and causing serious injury,” LaValley said.

Local 4 News has been informed that the driver will be re-arrested soon. In the meantime, the NHTSA investigation will continue.

Barco is still fighting for his life and dealing with brain hemorrhages and serious back injuries.

An online fundraiser has been created on behalf of the woman. To help the accident victim, click here to donate to the online fundraiser.

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