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Feds investigating fiery crash that killed two people — with no one behind the wheel

Authorities in Texas are investigating a fatal crash that killed two people — but police say neither of the victims were behind the wheel when the vehicle hit a tree and burst into flames.

According to the Associated Press, two unidentified men were killed in Harris County Saturday after the Tesla they were in veered off a curved residential road and hit a tree. The electric-powered car burst into flames, and it is unclear how long the vehicle was on fire before first responders arrived. A photo obtained by Fox 19 News shows the car severely burned with extensive damage.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board  are reportedly investigating the crash. The federal agencies have not yet determined if the victims were inside a self-driving Tesla model. But Harris County Precinct Four Constable Mark Herman told the Associated Press that investigators are “100 percent” certain neither of the men were behind the wheel when the car crashed. One victim was reportedly found in the front passenger seat, and the other in the backseat.

“We are actively engaged with local law enforcement and Tesla to learn more about the details of the crash and will take appropriate steps when we have more information,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said, according to the Associated Press.

According to the report, Tesla has said that its “Full Self-Driving Capability” system does not mean a driver of a car need not be alert, and that drivers using Autopilot must be ready to take over control of the vehicle at any time.

Tesla did not immediately return the Associated Press’s request for comment.

CrimeOnline will provide further updates when more information is available.

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[Feature image: Blomst from Pixabay]