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Param Sharma was spotted in the back of the vehicle on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on Monday (10 May) morning and was arrested for reckless driving.
His Tesla was impounded, but after being released from prison he was seen in a new Tesla and promised to keep pulling the stunt.
The 25-year-old told KTVU: "I'll just get a new Tesla every time [one is impounded].
"I have unlimited money to blow on Teslas. Like, if you take my Tesla away, I will get another Tesla. That's how it works.
"I run Silicon Valley."
Sharma added that he feels safer in the back of the car and he thinks it will soon be seen as normal.
Last month, two men in Texas died after they crashed in a Tesla. Police said they believed there was no one in the driver's seat at the time of the crash, but chief executive Elon Musk said autopilot had not been enabled.
Your research as a private individual is better than professionals @WSJ!
Data logs recovered so far show Autopilot was not enabled & this car did not purchase FSD.
Moreover, standard Autopilot would require lane lines to turn on, which this street did not have.
- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 19, 2021
Following Sharma's arrest, California Highway Patrol Golden Gate Division released a statement which read: "The California Highway Patrol (CHP) today announced it has arrested 25-year-old Param Sharma for reckless driving of a Tesla while in the backseat on Interstate 80 (I-80) in the Bay Area.
"Sharma was arrested without incident and booked into Santa Rita Jail on two counts of reckless driving and disobeying a Peace Officer. The Tesla was towed from the scene for evidence and this incident remains under investigation.
"On May 10 at approximately 6:34 p.m., the CHP's Golden Gate Division Communications Center received multiple 9-1-1 calls regarding an individual seated in the backseat of a Tesla Model 3 without anyone seated in the driver's seat. The vehicle was reported to be traveling eastbound on I-80 across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge toward the city of Oakland.
"An Oakland CHP motor officer at the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza located the Tesla, confirmed that a single occupant was seated in the backseat, and initiated an enforcement stop. The officer observed the individual move into the driver's seat. The occupant then brought the Tesla to a stop on the shoulder of I-80 eastbound just west of Powell Street, where the officer arrested Sharma."
The statement continued: "Prior to this arrest, members of the public had captured video of someone resembling Sharma operating his vehicle in the same reckless manner, and the CHP's Oakland Area had cited Sharma on April 27 for similar behaviour.
"The safety of all who share our roadways is the primary concern of the CHP. The Department thanks the public for providing valuable information that aided in this investigation and arrest."
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