A man suspected of being cruising around the Bay Area in the backseat of a driverless Tesla has been arrested, the California Highway Patrol said Tuesday, noting that he had also been cited late last month.
Param Sharma, 25, was arrested and booked into Santa Rita Jail on two counts of reckless driving and disobeying a peace officer, the CHP Golden Gate Division said.
The CHP on Saturday shared two photos on its Facebook page that show a man in the back seat of the car and what looked like an empty driver’s seat, saying it was aware of the "unusual situation" and asking the public to report any similar sightings.
The CHP said it received numerous calls Monday evening reporting someone riding in the backseat of a Tesla Model 3 with nobody at the wheel as it traveled eastbound on Interstate Highway 80 across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge toward Oakland.
A CHP officer at the toll plaza located the car, confirmed the lone person in the backseat and made an enforcement stop, the agency said.
“The officer observed the individual move into the driver’s seat,” the CHP said. “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.”
Sharma had previously been cited “for similar behavior” on April 27, the CHP said.