Tesla Model S crashes in Texas, leaving two dead and sparking a blaze that lasts hours

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Charisse Jones, USA TODAY
Published 12:06 p.m. ET April 18, 2021 | Updated 3:49 p.m. ET April 18, 2021

Criticism is piling on Tesla. A year ago, Consumer Reports called the Model S the best car it had ever tested. But, after driving a little more than 10,000 miles, it is changing its mind.

A Tesla car crash in Texas left two people dead and sparked a fire that took hours to put out, according to local news reports.

The crash of the Tesla model S happened Saturday night in Woodlands, Texas, according to Houston TV station KTRK. 

The car veered off the road, hitting a tree. Two men, one in the front passenger seat and another in the back, were found dead at the scene, said KTRK. They were not immediately identified.

Firefighters said the all-electric car’s batteries continued to catch fire, and it took roughly four hours and 23,000 gallons of water to extinguish the blaze.

The vehicle can be driven on auto-pilot, but KTRK said it wasn’t yet known if that feature was being used at the time of the accident. The feature has come under scrutiny in the wake of a series of other crashes. 

Tesla could not be immediately reached for comment. 

In March, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it would send a team to Detroit to look into a crash that critically injured two people when their Tesla drove under a tractor trailer. Similar accidents involving Teslas happened in Florida in 2016 and 2019, when cars also drove under tractor trailers, resulting in two deaths. The two vehicles were in autopilot mode.

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A Tesla Model S plugged in for charging. (Photo: Tesla)

Tesla has said that the Autopilot feature and “full self-driving” are programs that assist drivers and they should be ready to take control at any time.

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