Man Killed In Self-Driving Tesla Had Harry Potter Playing With Autopilot Activated: Report

Joshua D. Brown was killed when his Tesla Model S crashed into the side of a tractor trailer on May 7th, leading to an NHTSA investigation of Tesla’s Autopilot feature’s failure to detect the truck. A new report claims that a Harry Potter movie could be heard playing in the car after the crash.

According to the statement released on Thursday by Tesla detailing the accident, both the car’s Autopilot system and the driver failed to apply the brake pedal leading up to the collision with the tractor trailer.…

The car impacted the trailer at the windshield level and then continued down the road until crashing through two fences and a light post. The driver of the Model S, Joshua Brown, was killed in the accident.

As reported by the Associated Press, the driver of the tractor trailer claims the driver of the Model S was playing a Harry Potter movie from inside the car, which reportedly could still be heard after the accident.


From AP:

Frank Baressi, 62, the driver of the tractor-trailer and owner of Okemah Express LLC, said the Tesla driver was “playing Harry Potter on the TV screen” and driving so quickly that “he went so fast through my trailer I didn’t see him.”

“It was still playing when he died and snapped a telephone pole a quarter mile down the road,” Baressi said in an in an interview from his home in Palm Harbor, Florida. He acknowledged he couldn’t see the movie, only heard it.

Tesla Motors Inc. said it is not possible to watch videos on the Model S touch screen.

Joshua Brown was an active fan of his Tesla Model S and its Autopilot feature, posting 20 videos to his YouTube channel, some gaining over a million views.

Many of these videos show Brown listening to audio books while driving, and it’s unclear if that may have been the case in this situation.

Tesla referred to Brown as a friend of the EV community in its statement.


Brown was a Navy Seal who later started his own tech company, Nexu Innovations Inc. You can read his obituary here.

Jalopnik has reached out to Tesla for comment, and will update this post with any new information.

This post and its title were edited to clarify that the audio could reportedly be heard playing in the car after the crash.


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