CNBCFederal agency says it booted Tesla from crash probe, but Tesla says it withdrew and will complain to Congress
- The NTSB said it "revoked" Tesla's status as a party to its investigation of a fatal crash involving a Model X with Autopilot engaged.
- The NTSB said that Tesla had "violated the party agreement by releasing investigative information before it was vetted and confirmed by the NTSB."
- Tesla previously said it "withdrew" from the probe.
The National Transportation Safety Board has "revoked" Tesla's status as a party to its investigation of a fatal crash that took place in Mountain View, California, in March.
However, Tesla maintains it withdrew from the probe.
An Apple engineer named Walter Huang was killed in the March 23 crash, driving a 2017 Tesla Model X with Tesla's Autopilot systems engaged.
Huang's family hired a law firm, Minami Tamaki, to explore their legal options, they announced this week. The firm has publicly stated that it believes the Autopilot feature in the Model X potentially caused Huang's death.
The NTSB said in a statement on Thursday:
"The NTSB took this action because Tesla violated the party agreement by releasing investigative information before it was vetted and confirmed by the NTSB. Such releases of incomplete information often lead to speculation and incorrect assumptions about the probable cause of a crash, which does a disservice to the investigative process and the traveling public."
In the release, NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt wrote, "We decided to revoke Tesla's party status and informed Mr. Musk in a phone call last evening and via letter today. While we understand the demand for information that parties face during an NTSB investigation, uncoordinated releases of incomplete information do not further transportation safety or serve the public interest."
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