Authorities in North Carolina have released dashcam footage that shows the moment a Tesla being driven on Autopilot slammed into a parked police vehicle on the side of a highway.
The incident isn’t new and actually occurred in August 2020. This dashcam footage doesn’t offer a view of the Tesla itself but it can be heard slamming into the rear of a parked Dodge Charger patrol car that was parked on the side of the road.
Immediately after the impact, an officer from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol jumps out of the way and pushes a deputy from the Nash County Sheriff’s office to safety. While this is happening, the badly damaged Charger hits a mile marker on the side of the highway before rolling down a grass embankment and crashing into a tree.
“Luckily, the state trooper pushed our deputy out of the way when he heard the tires squeal, and in an instant, we could have lost a life or several lives,” Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said in the immediate aftermath of the crash. “It could have been very horrific.”
A doctor by the name of Devainder Goli was behind the wheel of the Tesla Model S at the time and was allegedly watching a movie on his phone when the EV slammed into the patrol car, Newsweek reported. Officers had closed a lane on the highway while investigating a separate crash. It is understood that Goli was charged with distracted driving and not moving over for an emergency vehicle. He was arrested and charged with a “move-over violation and viewing a television device while driving,” according to WITN-TV.
This is far from the only time a Tesla running on Autopilot has crashed into an emergency vehicle. In September 2021, a very similar incident occurred on Florida when a police cruiser was rear-ended by a 2019 Model 3 while the officer was stopped on the side of the road to help the driver of a stranded Mercedes-Benz SUV.