Homicide Rap For Tesla Driver On Autopilot

Man using phone when Model S ran over biker

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Tesla Death '24

APRIL 26--A Tesla owner has been charged with vehicular homicide after his car--traveling in autopilot mode--slammed into a motorcyclist when he got distracted looking at his cellphone, according to Washington court records.

Police say that Carl Hunter, 56, was driving his 2022 Model S last Friday afternoon when the vehicle rear-ended a motorcycle on State Route 522 near Snohomish, a city 35 miles north of Seattle.

The collision killed Jeffrey Nissen, a 28-year-old construction worker who was on his way home. When cops arrived at the crash scene, the Tesla sedan was atop the motorcycle “with a male rider laying next to the Tesla’s driver rear side.”

A GoPro camera that had been attached to Nissen’s helmet was seized by police.

During questioning, Hunter said he was driving home and “looked down at his cell phone while the vehicle was rolling forward on auto pilot.” Adding that he was “distracted by his phone,” Hunter said that “the next thing he knew there was a bang and the vehicle lurched forward as it accelerated and collided with the motorcycle in front of him.”

“The Tesla became lodged on top of the motorcycle and was unable to be removed in time,” a Washington State Patrol trooper noted.

While Hunter admitted having a drink at lunch, police concluded that there was not enough evidence to support a DUI Vehicular Homicide charge.

However, since Hunter reportedly copped to inattentive driving “while moving forward putting trust in the machine to drive for him,” he was arrested for Vehicular Homicide DSO (disregard for the safety of others).

Hunter was freed from custody after posting a $100,000 bond. Seen in the above Facebook photo, Hunter lives in a $1.6 million Snohomish home he purchased with his wife in 2022. (2 pages)