DUI suspect in Tesla may have been sleeping with autopilot engaged

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Around 3:30 a.m. Friday, California Highway Patrol officers noticed a Tesla Model S driving southbound on Highway 101. The officers pulled up next to the vehicle, which was traveling at 70 mph, and observed the driver, Alexander Samek, allegedly sleeping. CHP then used both lights and sirens try to wake Samek, but he was “unresponsive,” according to California Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Art Montiel

Assuming that the vehicle was in autopilot mode, the officers eventually stopped the vehicle by driving in front of the Tesla and gradually slowing, assuming that the driver-assist feature would eventually stop the car. 

The vehicle stopped in the middle of the highway, and officers then attempted to wake Samek.

“Officers approached the Tesla and attempted to wake up Samek by knocking on the window and giving verbal commands. After Samek woke up and got out of the Tesla he was placed in the back of the patrol car and taken off the freeway to the Shell Station off Embarcadero Road at West Bayshore Road while the other officer drove the Tesla off the freeway,” according to Montiel.

At the gas station, Samek failed a field sobriety test and was arrested on suspicion of DUI.

According to KRON4. the CHP said in a statement that it has not yet confirmed that autopilot was engaged: 

“We cannot confirm at this time if the "driver assist" feature was activated but considering the vehicle's ability to slow to a stop when Samek was asleep, it appears the ‘driver assist’ feature may have been active at the time.”

The California Highway Patrol posted the details of the incident on their Facebook page:

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