Deputies: Teens claim Tesla was driving on autopilot when it crashed into patrol car

PALM COAST, Fla. (AP) — A pair of South Carolina teenagers claimed that their car was on autopilot before it crashed into a Florida deputy’s patrol car, officials said.

The crash occurred last Friday in Palm Coast, according to a Flagler County Sheriff’s Office news release. Palm Coast is located just north of Daytona Beach.

A deputy pulled over a white 2018 Tesla after watching it pull out of a gas station parking lot and travel on the wrong side of the road, official said. The car initially came to a stop and then backed into the deputy’s patrol vehicle.

The deputy reported finding two girls, ages 14 and 15, inside the car, but neither was in the driver seat. The teens told deputies that they were traveling from Charleston, South Carolina, to visit the father of one of the girls. When questioned, the girls said the Tesla was driving itself in autopilot mode when it backed into the patrol car. Investigators later determined that one of the teens was operating the vehicle before putting it in autopilot, causing the crash.

Deputies contacted both teens’ parents. The driver’s mother was unaware of her daughter leaving the state and thought she was at her grandmother’s house.

No damage was done to the patrol car, officials said. The Tesla had about $300 in damage. Police did not specify which teenager was the driver but said she was cited for driving without a license.

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