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January 9, 2020 11:00 AM, EST

NHTSA Probing Fatal Crash of Tesla, Fire Truck in Indiana

NHTSAA dashboard monitor displays the lane-keeping feature during hands-free test drive in a Tesla Motors Inc. Model S electric automobile. (Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg News)

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will probe the Dec. 29 fatal crash of a Tesla Inc. vehicle that slammed into a parked fire truck on an Indiana highway, the agency said Jan. 8.

The fire truck had its emergency lights flashing while responding to an earlier crash and was parked across a left-hand lane on Interstate 70 roughly 45 miles west of Indianapolis when it was hit by the Tesla, the Indiana State Police said in a Dec. 29 statement.

The 23-year-old wife of the Tesla’s driver died of her injuries at a hospital, according to the statement. The 25-year-old driver was injured. No firefighters were hurt.

The state police said they planned to reconstruct the crash, which occurred about 8 a.m., as part of their investigation, and that drugs and alcohol were not contributing factors.

NHTSA did not specify whether Tesla’s collection of automated driver-assist technologies known as Autopilot were active in the Indiana crash, but the investigation follows a series of inquiries opened into such crashes.

NHTSA has looked into 23 crashes in which some form of automated driver-assist technologies were believed to be in use at the time of the collisions. Of those, 14 involved Tesla models, NHTSA said in its statement.

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