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Tesla driver cited after deputies say he was asleep at the wheel while going 82 mph on the highway

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Posted at 9:07 AM, May 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-20 16:29:45-04

KENOSHA COUNTY, Wisc. — An Illinois man was cited for "inattentive driving" after a Kenosha County Sheriff's Office deputy spotted him "asleep behind the wheel" of a Tesla car Sunday.

The Kenosha County Sheriff's Office said it was dispatched to northbound I-94 near the Illinois/Wisconsin state line Sunday for a report of a Tesla driver who appeared to be asleep at the wheel. Officials say the deputy approached the car as it passed STH 158 on I-94 just before 8 a.m. local time.

The deputy tried to initiate a traffic stop and activated the lights and sirens in his car. The driver didn't pull over for two miles.

The incident was recorded on dash and body cameras. The driver eventually pulled his Tesla to the side of the road, only after the sheriff's department says he woke up.

Authorities say the Tesla was going 82 miles an hour before the driver pulled over.

Body camera footage from the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department shows the deputy scolding the driver for allegedly sleeping behind the wheel.

"The reason I'm stopping you is I followed you for about two miles and you were sleeping...Why would we drive like that?" the deputy said.

The 38-year-old man denied being asleep at the wheel and did not have any signs of impairment.

"I'm on my way to work," the driver told the deputy. "I'm on my way, I'm not sleeping. Like I said, I'm just tired."

While the car had autopilot capability, Tesla says drivers should keep their hands on the steering wheel at all times and maintain control.

The driver was issued a citation for inattentive driving, officials said.

This story was originally published by Sarah McGrew on Scripps station TMJ4 in Milwaukee.