Tesla Driver Lied About Car Malfunction in Hit & Run Case

A 26-year-old nurse named Nicole Lagos was hit by a Tesla driver who lied and said her car was on autopilot; the victim suffered permanent brain damage. 

On March 22, 2022, at about 6:30 in the morning, she was attempting to get on a tram on Armadale’s Wattletree Road in a suburb in Melbourne’s inner south-east

when the tragedy happened. Lagos was dragged down the road and then hurled around ten meters. 

The driver, Sakshi Agrawal, quickly fled the accident scene, leaving only white wreckage and a Tesla emblem on the road.

At 8:30 a.m., Agrawal returned to the scene of the crime and surrendered to the authorities. 

According to the court record, Agrawal first told authorities that her Tesla was on autopilot and that the system had failed to apply the brakes when Lagos “jumped” in front of her. There were discrepancies between Agrawal’s account and what the police found when they analyzed the telemetry and steering inputs from the Tesla. A vulnerable road user was spotted, and the vehicle generated collision warnings only 30 seconds before the accident, yet the autopilot mode was not turned on.

After admitting his client misled authorities about the autopilot function being enabled, defense attorney Nick Papas KC dropped the case. In court on Tuesday, Lagos’s horrific victim impact statement was read out, revealing the full extent of her injuries.

Lagos suffered a severe brain injury and spent two weeks in an induced coma. She now has few friends, lacks self-assurance, has trouble focusing for more than an hour, and is anxious about finding a life partner and having a family.

The maximum sentence for hazardous driving is five years in prison; failing to stop is ten years. 

In his motion for a non-custodial sentence, Mr. Papas cited Agrawal’s two letters of apology to Lagos as evidence that his client felt terrible about her actions. Traumatic stress disorder affects Agrawal as well.