The California Highway Patrol pulled over a Tesla Model S driver near Palo Alto on Friday, but only after chasing the car for seven miles and implementing some unique strategies to stop the electric vehicle. The driver, who was believed to be asleep at the wheel, was promptly arrested for driving under the influence around 3:30 a.m., but only after leading police on a head-scratching pursuit.
While the specifics remain unclear, officers believe that the Model S’ semi-autonomous capabilities allowed it to continue navigating Highway 101 for approximately seven minutes even after they turned on their sirens, the driver slouched in a drunken stupor.
“One of the officers basically ended up going in front of the vehicle and basically tried to slow it down,” a California Highway Patrol spokesman explained to KCBS Radio.
Although it’s possible that the Tesla’s Autopilot system could’ve been engaged during the incident, the feature’s most recent update requires drivers to place their hands on the wheel at least every 30 seconds. This change came after some owners abused the technology’s functions and subsequently were injured for overestimating its abilities. In turn, the car supposedly would have slowed down within a minute or two, leaving a looming yet laughable question mark above the ordeal.
The man behind the wheel, Alexander Samek, was a California public official who served on the Los Altos Planning Commission. A report from the New York Post claims that cruiser cam video showed Samek chuckling as police interrogated him, shortly after being woken up from his early morning snooze.
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