2 teens alone in Tesla, no one in driver’s seat when it backed into patrol car, deputies say

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. — There was no one behind the wheel of a Tesla when it backed into a Flagler County deputy’s patrol car in Palm Coast last week.

Deputies said there were only two teenagers inside.

Deputies said the 14 and 15 year olds told them the car was in “autopilot mode” when it backed into the patrol car.

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According to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy pulled the 2018 Tesla over after he noticed it driving on the wrong side of the road after exiting the Wawa gas station located on State Road 100 in Palm Coast.

Deputies said the car complied, came to a stop, and then backed up into the cruiser.

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The deputy then saw that there was no one in the driver’s seat, only the 14 and 15 year old inside—one in the passenger seat and the other in the backseat.

After questioning the teens, deputies said they determined that one of them had been operating the car before putting it in autopilot, causing the crash.

The teens told deputies they were traveling from Charleston, South Carolina, to visit one of their fathers, but the mother of one of the teens said she was unaware of her daughter leaving the state, and thought she was at her grandmother’s house.

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While there was no damage to the FCSO vehicle, there was $300 in damage to the Tesla. Deputies said the teen driver was given a citation for driving without a license.

“These kids are very lucky that no one was hurt and their actions didn’t have more serious consequences,” Sheriff Rick Staly said in a statement. “It doesn’t matter if you are driving a ‘smart car’, driving without a license is still against the law. I hope these kids have learned a valuable lesson and I am grateful that no one was hurt and only minimal damage occurred to their vehicle.”

Juvenile Driver Claims ‘𝐒𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐂𝐚𝐫’ 𝐁𝐚𝐜𝐤𝐬 𝐈𝐧𝐭𝐨 𝐅𝐂𝐒𝐎 𝐏𝐚𝐭𝐫𝐨𝐥 𝐕𝐞𝐡𝐢𝐜𝐥𝐞 - 𝐉𝐮𝐯𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐥𝐞 𝐃𝐫𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐖𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐚 𝐋𝐢𝐜𝐞𝐧𝐬𝐞 𝐁𝐥𝐚𝐦𝐞𝐬...

Posted by Flagler County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, March 25, 2021
Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.