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While a criminal case against a Tesla driver ends, legal and ethical questions on Autopilot endure

While a criminal case against a Tesla driver ends, legal and ethical questions on Autopilot endure

BY STEFANIE DAZIO AND TOM KRISHER | Associated Press

LOS ANGELES  — A criminal prosecution against a Tesla driver in Los Angeles County will end on Tuesday, the final step of a case believed to be the first time in the U.S. prosecutors brought felony charges against a motorist who was using a partially automated driving system.

But the conclusion of driver Kevin Aziz Riad’s case is offering little solace to Lorena Ochoa, whose spouse was one of two people killed in the 2019 crash in a Los Angeles suburb. She believes both Tesla and Aziz Riad, who received probation as punishment, should face harsher consequences.

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Aziz Riad faces a restitution hearing on Tuesday, where a judge will determine how much money he owes the families of Gilberto Alcazar Lopez and Maria Guadalupe Nieves-Lopez. Aziz Riad was using Autopilot, and the case has raised legal and ethical questions about the technology, particularly as Tesla sales grow and more automakers equip cars with similar systems.

The victims’ families have separately filed civil lawsuits against Aziz Riad and Tesla that are ongoing.