Police: Tesla not in auto-pilot at time of fatal collision

The Tesla involved in a fatal collision in the Tenderloin on Sunday was not in auto-pilot mode at the time of the incident, police reported Wednesday.

The incident occurred shortly after 2 p.m. at Taylor and O’Farrell streets when a Tesla headed north on Taylor Street ran a red light and struck a Mini-Cooper, the San Francisco Examiner reported previously. As the cars veered out of control, the Tesla struck and killed a tourist in a crosswalk and critically injured his wife.

Preliminary information from investigators revealed that the “Auto Pilot Driver Assist Feature” of the Tesla — which was rented through the car rental service Get Around — was not in operation at the time of the incident, according to a statement by the San Francisco Police Department.

The 21-year-old driver of the Tesla, Kelsey Mariah Cambridge of Vallejo, who was arrested Sunday, has been released and cited for misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and an infraction for running a red light.

Police also reported Wednesday that investigators from SFPD’s Traffic Collision Investigation Unit are “preparing search warrants and working with Tesla, Inc. to obtain documentary evidence.”

A data storage device has been removed from the Tesla, and information contained within the device will “be analyzed to help determine the actions and events that lead up to the collision,” according to police.

The victims in the incident have been identified 39-year-old Benjamin Dean and his wife, Kelly Dean. According to Kelly Dean’s Facebook page, the couple was visiting San Francisco from the Central Valley for their wedding anniversary.

Last Thursday, blocks away from where Benjamin Dean was killed, 54-year-old Michael Evans was killed after being dragged by a big-rig truck. The two deaths have prompted pedestrian advocates to call for city officials to declare a state of emergency.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has committed to short term safety changes on Taylor Street and throughout the Tenderloin near the sites of the two recent deaths, the Examiner reported previously.


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