— A Florida Tesla crash that killed two people has landed in court as a plaintiff claims Karl and Mary Lou Seelandt were killed because of a defective 2015 Tesla Model S.
The plaintiff asserts the "defective and unreasonably dangerous" Model S "malfunctioned" and caused the Seelandt family’s deaths.
On July 6, 2022, Karl Seelandt, 67, and Mary Lou Seelandt, 66, were traveling on Interstate-75 in Alachua County, Florida. The wrongful death lawsuit contends the Tesla Model S "malfunctioned and crashed into the back of a parked semi-truck." (Photo above)
According to the lawsuit, the couple died of blunt force injuries due to the allegedly defective Tesla car.
The lawsuit says the 2015 Tesla Model S was equipped with multiple crash avoidance and mitigation technologies meant to prevent crashes and to assist drivers.
"The crash avoidance and crash mitigation features and technologies include automatic emergency braking, front collision warning, side collision warning, obstacle aware acceleration, blind spot monitoring, lane departure avoidance, emergency lane departure avoidance, and myriad radar, sonar, cameras, and sensors that are designed to detect and prevent collisions with other vehicles." — Tesla Florida crash lawsuit
The lawsuit does not use the term "Autopilot," but the plaintiff claims "Tesla’s conduct was willful, wanton, and in reckless disregard for the rights of others."
Florida Highway Patrol Tesla Crash Investigation
The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) investigated the Seelandt Model S crash for six months and released an extensive 75-page report about the crash.
According to Florida Highway Patrol Lieutenant P.V. Riordan, Mary Lou Seelandt was driving the Model S with her husband Karl Seelandt as the passenger.
The FHP investigation shows the Tesla Model S traveled down the exit ramp to the Paynes Prairie Rest Area Parking Lot as the driver applied the accelerator pedal instead of the brake pedal.
Lt. Riordan says the investigation shows there were two collisions.
"[T]he first was when the driver struck the parking lot curb/ sidewalk area with the right front wheel and front end of the vehicle; and then the vehicle traveled in a southeasterly direction until the second collision occurred when the front struck a parked semi-trailer."
Although investigators don't know why the driver applied the accelerator pedal, the Florida Highway Patrol investigation concluded the cause of the crash was "driver error."
Lt. Riordan also noted, "although this vehicle did have some driver assistance features—it was not a self-driving vehicle."
The Tesla Florida crash lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida (Gainesville Division): Robert Jones, as Executor de son Tort for the Pending Estate of KARL SEELANDT, Deceased, and as Executor de son Tort for the Pending Estate of MARY LOU SEELANDT, Deceased, v. Tesla, Inc.
The plaintiff is represented by Morgan & Morgan, P.A.