Tesla: Autopilot feature unlikely a factor in fiery Indianapolis crash

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Tesla Motors said the fiery crash that killed two people early Thursday morning was unlikely to have been caused by the car’s Autopilot feature.

In a statement, the company said it was working with authorities in Indianapolis to investigate the circumstances surrounding the crash. The car couldn’t transmit data to the company’s servers because of the amount of damage from the collision and resulting fire.

“Due to the damaged caused by the collision, the car was physically incapable of transmitting log data to our servers,” the company said.

The company said the Autopilot feature would have limited the car’s speed.

“However, had Autopilot been engaged it would have limited the vehicle’s speed to less than 35 mph on this street, which is inconsistent with witness statements and the damage sustained.”

Kevin McCarthy (left) and Casey Speckman (right)

Kevin McCarthy (left) and Casey Speckman (right)

Casey Speckman, 27, and Kevin McCarthy, 44, died after the 2015 Model S they were in lost control and crashed into a tree near Illinois and 16th streets around 1 a.m. Thursday. The vehicle left a large debris field.

First responders had to contend with several intense fires after the crash. In addition to the main fire from the vehicle itself, several of the car’s lithium ion battery cells caught fire as well. Those fires burned intensely, according to the Indianapolis Fire Department, and took several minutes to get under control, delaying their efforts to reach Speckman and McCarthy.

Speckman, who was driving the car, was pronounced dead at the scene. Emergency crews were able to get McCarthy out of the car, but he died later at Eskenazi Hospital.

Case Pacer issued the following statement:

Case Pacer suffered a tragic loss on Thursday, November 3, when its founder Kevin McCarthy and sales representative Casey Speckman died in a car accident after a company event. Kevin brought together a team who share his passion and vision for Case Pacer, but words cannot express the extent to which both Kevin and Casey were loved and will be missed.

Case Pacer will continue to provide and improve on the services and tools that have made it an integral part of your day-to-day legal practice; however, please take a moment to remember Casey and Kevin with us and the energy and joy they brought to this industry and our lives.

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