By Rebecca Elliott 

Two men died after a Tesla vehicle that authorities believe was operating without anyone in the driver's seat crashed into a tree Saturday night north of Houston.

One of the men was in the front passenger's seat and the other was in the back seat of the Tesla, which was traveling at high speed along a curve before it hit a tree around 11:25 p.m. local time, Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman said in an interview.

"Our preliminary investigation is determining -- but it's not complete yet -- that there was no one at the wheel of that vehicle," the constable said. "We're almost 99.9% sure."

It took emergency responders about four hours and roughly 32,000 gallons of water to put the fire out, Mr. Herman said. As of Sunday morning, authorities were still investigating whether the front passenger air bag deployed.

Neither Tesla Inc. nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the top U.S. auto safety regulator, immediately responded to requests for comment.

Write to Rebecca Elliott at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 18, 2021 13:34 ET (17:34 GMT)

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