The widow of the man who died when his Tesla Model X crashed into a barrier last month is now planning to sue.
On Tuesday, Sevonne Huang told ABC 7 that her husband, Walter, had complained about the car’s Autopilot before, saying it had tried to veer into the same barrier where he crashed and died on several previous occasions.
So when she heard about a blue Tesla that crashed at that same spot on the midday news on March 23, she immediately knew her husband was dead.
Sevonne has hired an attorney and plans to sue Tesla for the death of her husband, and is speaking out to raise awareness of the issue.
hile Tesla said they are ‘incredibly sorry’ for Sevonne’s loss, they blamed the accident on her husband. They said Walter did not have his hands on the wheel at the time of the crash, despite repeated warnings to take control of the vehicle.
‘Tesla autopilot does not prevent all accidents – such a standard would be impossible – but it makes them much less likely to occur,’ the company said in a statement.
Mark Fong, the Huang family’s attorney, said that’s not good enough.
‘Unfortunately, it appears that Tesla has tried to blame the victim here,’ Fong said. ‘It took him out of the lane that he was driving in, then it failed to break, then it drove him into this fixed concrete barrier. We believe this would’ve never happened had this Autopilot never been turned on.’
Walter and Sevonne met in middle school in Taiwan. After marrying, they had two kids together, who are now six and three
Walter and Sevonne Huang first met in middle school in Taiwan, but lost touch when he moved to the U.S. When he started working in tech, Walter tracked down Sevonne and the two married. He is survived by their two children, aged six and three. Sevonne says he was a great dad, who would read to their children every night, even after long days at work.
‘It’s just like, lost everything for me. I’ve not just lost my husband, I lost my best friend,’ Sevonne said.
The crash involving Walter is currently being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The agencies are also investigating the battery fire that followed the crash.
‘We’re really more looking at the fire aspects,’ NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt told Reuters, saying that the battery continued to ignite even after it was loaded onto a truck.
Tesla declined to comment on the August incident.
The NTSB previously said it also is probing an incident in which a Tesla vehicle apparently traveling in semi-autonomous mode struck a fire truck in California in January.
The law firm said its preliminary review suggested the autopilot feature was defective and had uncovered complaints by other Tesla drivers of navigational errors by the system.
‘(Our) preliminary review indicates that the navigation system of the Tesla may have misread the lane lines on the roadway, failed to detect the concrete median, failed to brake the car, and drove the car into the median,’ Minami said.