Tesla disputes statements made in crash involving Park West Gallery owner Albert Scaglione

Posted at 9:17 PM, Jul 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-06 21:17:20-04

A crash of a Tesla Model X on the Pennsylvania turnpike has generated confusion and triggered an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The accident, which happened on July 1, involved two Michigan residents. The driver of the vehicle was Southfield art gallery owner Albert Scaglione. His son-in-law, Tim Yanke, was in the car with him at the time of the accident, which took place at about 5 p.m.near the Bedford exit of the turnpike. 

Scaglione was said to be driving his 2016 Tesla Model X, a vehicle introduced with great fanfare in September of last year by Tesla founder Elon Musk.

Scaglione reportedly told police he had the driver assistance "Autopilot" feature activated when the car crashed and rolled over.

However, there is no indication of that in the accident report filed by Dale Vukovich with the Pennsylvania State Police. 

Tesla is also disputing that In a statement to 7 Action News, suggesting it has no data to suggest that Autopilot was activated at the time of the crash. 

"We received an automated alert from this vehicle on July 1 indicating airbag deployment, but logs containing detailed information on the state of the vehicle controls at the time of the collision were never received," Tesla said in an email.

Attempts by the Palo Alto-based company to reach Scaglione have been unsuccessful.

"As we do with all crash events, we immediately reached out to the customer to confirm they were ok and offer support but were unable to reach him," the statement continued.  "We have since attempted to contact the customer three times by phone without success. Based on the information we have now, we have no reason to believe that Autopilot had anything to do with this accident."

The federal agency in charge of auto safety said it is also looking into the crash, according to a brief statement emailed to 7 Action News.

"“NHTSA is collecting information from the Pennsylvania State Police, Tesla and the driver of a Tesla Model X involved in a crash on July 1 to determine whether automated functions were in use at the time of the crash," the statement said.

Efforts to reach both Scaglione and his son-in-law have been unsuccessful. There was no comment when 7 Action News visited Park West Gallery Wednesday to ask for Scaglione. 

The 77-year-old was transported to a local hospital following the accident, according to the police report. The severity of his injuries was listed as unknown. 

The day before the crash by Scaglione, NHTSA began an investigation into the design and performance of Tesla's Autopilot system after a fatal crash in Florida in 2015.