Tesla car crash: Victims named after two die when vehicle hits tree in Texas

Vishwam Sankaran
·2 min read
Emergency services personnel stand near the site of a Tesla vehicle crash in The Woodlands, Texas (via REUTERS)
Emergency services personnel stand near the site of a Tesla vehicle crash in The Woodlands, Texas (via REUTERS)

The victims killed in last week’s Tesla car crash in Texas, which police suspect to have involved the vehicle’s autopilot mode, have been named as William Varner, a 58-year-old anaesthesiologist, his employer said, and Everette Talbot, 69.

In the incident on Saturday, two men were killed after their 2019 Tesla Model S, travelling at a high speed, failed to negotiate a curve and crashed into a tree, catching fire, police reports noted.

According to the police, one of the victims, thought to be Mr Talbot, was found in the passenger seat and the other, Mr Varner, in the back seat, while nobody was at the driving seat at the time of impact, raising doubts on the involvement of the car’s autopilot mode.

However, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Monday saying that data logs retrieved from the crashed car by the company ruled out the use of the autopilot system.

“Data logs recovered so far show Autopilot was not enabled ... Moreover, standard Autopilot would require lane lines to turn on, which this street did not have,” he tweeted.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Police said on Monday that they would serve search warrants on the company to ascertain if the vehicle’s autopilot mode was engaged at the time of the incident.

Citing witness reports, Mark Herman, a police constable from Harris County Precinct 4 in Texas, said the accident happened shortly after the victims left a house to test the car’s automated driving capability.

Dr Varner, a graduate from the University of Texas Medical Branch At Galveston in 1988, is listed as a medical director at the Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center, in Houston, Texas.

“We were saddened to hear of the death of one of our physicians over the weekend. Dr Varner spent his life caring for others, and now we are focused on caring for his colleagues and family, helping them to cope with this sudden and unexpected loss,” Reuters quoted the US Anesthesia Partners as saying in a statement.

The other victim was not identified as of Wednesday.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which investigates accidents and makes recommendations to improve transport safety, said its probe into the crash would look into the vehicle’s operation and the post-crash fire.

Read More

Donald Trump says border crisis could ‘destroy America’

Biden marks 200m Covid vaccine shots delivered, but warns Americans to stay vigilant

Vanita Gupta: Senate narrowly confirms Biden’s pick for Justice Department