A Tesla running on Autopilot smashed into a deputy’s patrol vehicle in Washington state, police say, causing ‘significant damage’

The damage authorities say was caused by the crash. Snohomish County Sheriff's Office

  • A Tesla crashed into a parked Washington state deputy’s patrol car on Saturday, authorities said.
  • The police say the Tesla Model S was operating under Autopilot, Tesla’s driver-assist software.
  • No one was hurt, but the deputy’s car was damaged, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said.

A Tesla Model S that the police say was operating under Autopilot crashed into a Washington state deputy’s patrol vehicle on Saturday, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said.

The crash caused “significant damage” to the patrol car, which was parked on the side of the road, the sheriff’s office said in a statement Monday on Facebook.



A deputy was responding to an incident in Northeast Seattle, in Snohomish County, in which another car had run into a power pole, according to the sheriff’s office. The deputy parked his vehicle on the road shoulder with the emergency lights flashing.

He got out of his car to speak with emergency services at the scene. About 30 seconds later, a Tesla rammed into the front-left side of the deputy’s car, the sheriff’s office said. The statement said the Tesla was operating under Autopilot, Tesla’s driver-assistance feature.

The sheriff’s office said no one was injured. “This is a great reminder that vehicles may have autopilot to assist, but it cannot be relied upon to get you safely from one destination to the next,” the statement concluded.

NBC first reported that the Washington State Patrol was investigating the Tesla crash, which involved a 2015 Tesla Model S.

Tesla and the Washington State Patrol did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider.

Photos indicate that the driver’s door, front left wheel, and mirror were damaged.

Autopilot uses cameras and sensors to keep Tesla vehicles in the correct position on the road.

The driving-assistance feature has come under heavy scrutiny over its involvement or suspected involvement in numerous crashes, some of them fatal.



At least three Tesla drivers have died while the car was operating under the Autopilot system, Insider previously reported.

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