FHP: DVD player found in Tesla involved in fatal autopilot crash

- The Florida Highway Patrol says a portable DVD player was found inside the wreckage of a 2015 Tesla Model-S sedan involved in a fatal accident in May.

Its driver, Joshua Brown, 40, was killed on the scene when he slammed into a tractor-trailer in Williston.

Tesla confirmed he was using his vehicle's autopilot system at the time of the crash, and that neither he, nor the state-of-the-art technology hit the breaks before the collision.

"Neither autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied," Tesla wrote in a statement on its website.

On his YouTube page, devoted almost entirely to his 2015 Tesla, Brown called his Model-S, "hands down the best car I have ever owned." Over the last eight months, Brown has published 24 videos demonstrating the Model-S autopilot system, including one published April 5, titled "Autopilot saves Model-S." In the video's description, Brown claims his autopilot system prevented him from colliding with a large white bucket truck that tried to merge in his lane.

It would be the last video Brown would post on his page. Brown was killed one month later.

According to an FHP report, truck driver Frank Baressi was crossing the divided highway when Brown hit him. FHP say Brown's Tesla struck the broadside of Baressi's truck, sheering off the roof of the Tesla. Brown's car passed under the trailer and continued before driving off the roadway, through a pair of fences and eventually crashing into a utility pole.

"He went so fast through my trailer I didn't see it," Baressi told the Associated Press.

The AP also quoted Baressi, a Palm Harbor resident, as saying he could hear a movie playing inside Brown's car after the crash. In a conversation with FOX 13 News, however, Baressi said that wasn't true and he never saw or heard any sort of media coming from inside Brown's Tesla, but was later told by his lawyer that an unnamed witness claimed they did. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is now investigating the Tesla Model S sedan's autopilot system. A seperate investigation into the crash has been launched by FHP. Any charges are still pending the investigations. 

Up Next:

Up Next

  • FHP: DVD player found in Tesla involved in fatal autopilot crash
  • Suspected ATV, driver sought in fatal hit-and-run
  • Two injured in Hillsborough County house fire
  • Lakeland boy, 8, offers prayer during police open house
  • Seminole Heights on high alert following 3 murders
  • Tampa leaders hosting community meeting after Seminole Heights murders
  • Morris Bridge Road shut down from fatal crash
  • Seminole Heights residents hold vigil for murder victims
  • Dedicated veteran parking spaces coming to Home Depot
  • Sheriff: Body of missing boy, 3, found in city water tank