2 dead after Tesla crashes, bursts into flames in Houston

HOUSTON — A Tesla burst into flames after hitting a tree, killing two people inside it, investigators said.

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Harris County Constable Precinct 4 said the car was driving at a high rate of speed when it failed to negotiate a cul-de-sac turn, ran off the road and hit a tree, KPRC reported.

Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman said “no one was driving” the electric vehicle when it crashed. One man was in the front passenger seat and the other man was seated in a back seat, KPRC reported. Autopsies will be performed on both victims.

Officials said they had to use 32,000 gallons of water to put out the fire because the car’s batteries kept reigniting, KPRC reported. At one point deputies had to call Tesla to find out how to put out the flames.

Federal officials are looking into a string of recent accidents where drivers were using or might have been using Autopilot, a driving technology on Tesla vehicles that uses a series of radar sensors and cameras to detect lane markers, other vehicles or objects in the road, The New York Times reported.

The carmaker has maintained that the technology makes its cars safer than other vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating 23 crashes involving the technology.