Two teenagers were killed on Tuesday after the Tesla car they were travelling in crashed and caught fire in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, police said on Wednesday. A preliminary investigation showed a 2014 Tesla Model S drove off the roadway and struck a concrete wall, immediately catching fire, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department said in a statement. The speed of the vehicle is believed to have been a factor in the traffic crash, the police said.
The driver, Barrett Riley of Fort Lauderdale, 18, and front seat passenger, Edgar Monserratt Martinez of Aventura, 18, were pronounced dead at the crash scene, the police said. The backseat passenger, Alexander Berry of Fort Lauderdale, 18, was ejected from the car on impact, and later moved to Broward Health Medical Center for treatment, police said.
Calls made to the hospital on Berry's condition were not immediately returned. The crash happened in the 1300 block of Seabreeze Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, and is under active investigation, the police said. Tesla Inc did not immediately respond for a comment. Shares of the company were flat at $302.09 in midday trade on Wednesday. While it was not completely clear what caused the accident, there were also no reports that autopilot was a factor in the crash.
Tesla introduced the autopilot feature for its Model S in October 2014. Tesla is currently being probed by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for a fatal crash in March, where a Tesla vehicle's autopilot system was in use. Autopilot, a form of advanced cruise control, handles some driving tasks and warns those behind the wheel they are always responsible for the vehicle's safe operation, Tesla has said.The NTSB also said it was investigating an August 2017 Tesla battery fire in Lake Forest, California, after an owner lost control and ran the vehicle into his garage.