Tesla’s Autopilot Deemed Dangerously Misleading After Colorado Employee Died in Fiery Crash

By Madz Dizon

May 11, 2024 02:14 AM EDT

Tesla’s Autopilot Deemed Dangerously Misleading After Colorado Employee Died in Fiery Crash

(Photo : Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A lawsuit has been filed against Tesla by the widow of a Colorado man who tragically lost his life in a car accident involving a Tesla.

The lawsuit alleges that the advetisement Tesla's autopilot system is misleading and poses a significant danger.

Tesla Autopilot Probe

According to the widow of Hans Von Ohain, her husband was returning from a golfing trip in Evergreen with a friend on May 16, 2022. It was during this drive that the Autopilot system suddenly caused their 2021 Tesla Model 3 to dramatically veer to the right, resulting in the vehicle going off the road on Upper Bear Creek Road.

A 33-year-old individual named Von Ohain, who was under the influence, struggled to regain control of the vehicle. However, much to his shock and terror, the car veered off the road and collided with a tree, resulting in a fiery explosion. 

Based on the extensive crash report released by the Colorado State Patrol, it was found that the condition of the car post-crash hindered the retrieval of data necessary to determine if the self-driving feature was active during the incident.

However, the passenger in the car, Erik Rossiter, who sustained injuries in the crash, informed investigators that Von Ohain was utilizing the autonomous drive feature during the journey back, as stated in the CSP's conclusive report.

The car would occasionally veer off to the side of the road and then correct its course. The vehicle was traveling at 41mph at the time of the crash, slightly exceeding the 40 mph speed limit.

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Intoxication Complicates Widow's Legal Pursuit

Meanwhile, the driver's blood-alcohol level, as revealed by an autopsy report, was found to be three times the legal limit. 

In February, Nora Bass, his widow, said she faced difficulties in finding legal representation for the case, citing his intoxication as a factor, The Denver Post reported.

"No matter the level of intoxication Hans experienced, Musk has asserted that this vehicle has the capability to operate autonomously and surpasses human driving abilities," Bass said.

Bass and her attorneys claim that Tesla released the self-driving system in vehicles despite it being in a prototype stage and not yet suitable for consumers.

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