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Pleasanton crash that killed family of four under investigation by federal safety agency

Community rocked by death of Pleasanton family in fiery crash
Community rocked by death of Pleasanton family in fiery crash 03:46

The solo-vehicle crash that killed a family of four in Pleasanton last month is now being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the agency confirmed Monday.

On April 24, a Pleasanton family of four, a man, woman and their two children, died when the electric vehicle they were driving veered off Foothill Road, hit a pole and crashed into a tree.

Police said speed appeared to have been a factor in the crash, and they confirmed the vehicle was a VinFast VF8, an electric vehicle made by a Vietnamese company.

Now, the NHTSA is also investigating the crash. The agency said its Special Crash Investigations division will be looking into the circumstances of the crash and the ensuing fire.

According to the agency's website, special crash investigations can be prompted by information it gets from various sources such as the NHTSA's Vehicle Safety Hotline, NHTSA's regional offices the Office of Defects Investigation, law enforcement agencies, vehicle owners and engineers.

A complaint was made to the NHTSA that appears to stem from the Pleasanton crash, citing concerns about the vehicle.

The NHTSA does not release identifying information, but the complaint lists the incident date as April 24, that there were four killed and that there was a fire. The location is listed as Pleasanton.

"(The driver) was driving at unknown speeds with his family, the vehicle crashed into a pole, then a tree where it came to a stop. The vehicle then caught on fire," the complaint states.

Based off the complaint, the owner of the vehicle, who was not the driver that night, is the coworker of one of the victims. The reason for the complaint is that the owner of the vehicle had experienced steering wheel failure while driving, and they were worried the same may have happened to the victim.

"While driving at unknown speeds, the steering wheel automatically maneuvered to the right direction, however, the contact was able to regain control of the steering wheel and maneuvered into the correct lane. The contact stated that the failure recurred where the lane assist was turned on by default and it would automatically move the steering wheel," the complaint states.

There are 11 other complaints made against the 2023 VinFast VF8 on the NHTSA's website, with several of them mentioning steering and lane departure. 

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