DUI suspect slept while Tesla possibly on Autopilot, police say

DUI suspect slept while Tesla possibly on Autopilot, police say
Posted at 1:32 PM, Dec 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-01 09:33:08-05

PALO ALTO, CA (KGO/CNN) - When they say don’t drink and drive this is not what authorities mean.

The California Highway Patrol stopped a Tesla on the highway and found the driver asleep inside.

Now authorities are trying to figure out if the DUI suspect, Alexander Samek, 45, used Tesla’s Autopilot to drive him to his destination.

A Shell station in Palo Alto is where a 7-mile police pursuit incident came to an end.

“Officers went up to the driver’s side and basically started to try and wake up the driver. It took a while to wake him up. They finally got him up. They got him out of the vehicle, put him in the patrol car,” said Art Montiel, CHP spokesman.

It all started at 3:37 a.m. on Highway 101 in Redwood City.

An officer spotted the Tesla Model S traveling at about 70 mph.

When the patrol car pulled up next to it, the officer said Samek was slumped over and appeared to be asleep.

One patrol car started a traffic break.

Another pulled in front of the Tesla and slowed it down to a stop.

An officer drove the Tesla off the highway to the gas station.

That’s where officers conducted a sobriety test, including a breathalyzer. Samek was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, a misdemeanor.

Investigators are looking at the possibility of more charges, including driving at an unsafe speed for the conditions.

"What's a safe speed for driving while you're sleeping? Probably zero," Montiel said.

Friday’s incident was not the first involving an alleged DUI and a Tesla driver possibly using the Autopilot feature.

Earlier this year, troopers on the Bay Bridge pulled over a Tesla after finding the driver was passed out behind the wheel.

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