Art Dealer Claims Autopilot Was On In High Speed Tesla Model X Rollover Crash

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One day after the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration announced the May fatal crash of Joshua Brown in a Tesla in Autopilot mode, a Michigan art dealer says Autopilot was engaged when he crashed and rolled across the Pennsylvania Turnpike in his Tesla Model X.

Albert Scaglione, possibly the most prolific art dealer in the world, was involved in the crash last Friday. He survived, the Detroit Free Press reports, though it makes no mention of any injuries to Scaglione or his son-in-law riding with him.

Scaglione, who turned 77 just three days after the crash, hit a guardrail around mile marker 160 going east on the turnpike around 5 p.m., swung across the highway, hit a concrete barrier, then rolled.


But there is as of yet no official confirmation from Tesla about Scaglione, who survived his incident, as the Free Press reports.

The Free Press was not able to reach Scaglione, owner of Park West Gallery, or Yanke, but Dale Vukovich of the Pennsylvania State Police, who responded to the crash, said Scaglione told him that he had activated the Autopilot feature.


The crash is currently under investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police. An officer told the newspaper he would likely cite Scaglione, but declined to say for what.

Brown’s fatal crash, which happened in May but was only made public recently, also remains under investigation by NHTSA. His crash death was the first documented one in a semi-autonomous vehicle, although police and a witness believe Brown may have been watching a Harry Potter film on a portable DVD player at the time of the wreck.


UPDATE: a Tesla spokesperson told Jalopnik that there is “no data to suggest that Autopilot was engaged at the time of the incident.” Here’s their full statement:

We have no data to suggest that Autopilot was engaged at the time of the incident. Anytime there is a significant accident, Tesla receives a crash detection alert. As is our practice with all collisions, we immediately reached out to the customer to make sure he was safe. Until the customer responds, we are unable to further investigate.


FURTHER UPDATE: a Tesla spokesperson contacted Jalopnik to revise the company’s statement. They have upgraded from “no data so suggest” that Autopilot was engaged to “no reason to believe” that Autopilot was involved:

We received an automated alert from this vehicle on July 1 indicating airbag deployment, but logs containing detailed information on the state of the vehicle controls at the time of the collision were never received. This is consistent with damage of the severity reported in the press, which can cause the antenna to fail. As we do with all crash events, we immediately reached out to the customer to confirm they were ok and offer support but were unable to reach him. We have since attempted to contact the customer three times by phone without success. Based on the information we have now, we have no reason to believe that Autopilot had anything to do with this accident.