Tesla is not to blame for a fatal crash that involved a Model Y crossover, a Chinese court ruled earlier this week, according to local outlet Shanghai Securities News, quoted by Bloomberg.
The crash that happened in November of last year resulted in two deaths and three injuries after a white Model Y abruptly accelerated and drove at a high speed before crashing, as revealed by surveillance footage.
After the accident, a local influencer claimed on their Douyin (the Chinese version of TikTok) account that the crash was caused by a malfunctioning Model Y. Tesla sued the content creator, and now a court has ruled that the American automaker is not to blame.
According to Bloomberg, which cites local media, a forensics investigations institute ruled out the possibility that the accident was caused by defects in the steering or braking system, as shown by court documents.
Last year, the 55-year-old driver of the Model Y that survived the crash went on record saying that he had trouble making the EV stop after accelerating to 102 miles per hour (164 kilometers per hour). Data recorded by the vehicle reportedly showed that the accelerator pedal was pressed at 100 percent in the five seconds before the crash and that the brakes were not applied.
The influencer was ordered to pay Tesla 30,000 yuan ($4,100) for reputational damage and issue a public apology on the same account that alleged the wrongdoing in the first place.
The decision comes after the American EV maker won its first U.S. jury trial involving the Autopilot driver assistance system. The civil lawsuit alleged that the company’s ADAS caused a Model 3 to suddenly veer off a highway east of Los Angeles at 65 mph, hit a palm tree, and burst into flames in 2019.
The owner was killed and two passengers were seriously injured in the LA accident, with the plaintiffs asking the jury for $400 million plus punitive damages and accusing Tesla of knowing that the Autopilot feature and other safety systems were defective. The 12-member jury voted 9 to 3 in Tesla’s favor, saying that the vehicle did not have a manufacturing defect.