THE WOODLANDS, Texas - One of the men killed in Saturday’s Tesla crash north of Houston was Dr. William Varner, MD, an anesthesiologist who was at Memorial Hermann, The Woodlands Medical Center "all the time," hospital employees told FOX 26.
Colleagues of Dr. Varner shared a photo of the 59-year-old anesthesiologist who was killed suddenly in a fiery Tesla crash on the street he lived on. The cause of the crash is now being investigated at the federal level.
He worked for US Anesthesiology Partners, whose chairman sent a message to Memorial Hermann staffers.
"Bill was not only an instrumental part of the USAP team, but also a pillar of The Woodlands community. He served as Chief of Anesthesia and Chief of Staff at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands in the past," Derek Schoppa, MD, wrote in the email. "This is a very sad time for USAP Gulf Coast. Please keep the Varner family, particularly his wife, Terri, in your prayers. He was a gifted technician and a special partner and friend to all of us."
The medical examiner confirmed Varner's identity. On Wednesday, the medical examiner identified the second man as Everette Talbot.
The National Transportation Safety Board says its investigators arrived on scene Monday and will focus on the vehicle’s operation and post-crash fire. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also tells FOX 26 they have launched a Special Crash Investigation team.
The federal investigation begins as Tesla founder Elon Musk pushes back against Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s investigators who say no one was in the driver’s seat when the fiery crash happened.
Musk tweeted Monday, "Data logs recovered so far show Autopilot was not enabled & this car did not purchase FSD (full self driving). Moreover, standard Autopilot would require lane lines to turn on, which this street did not have."
NTSB tells FOX 26 they’ve opened about eight Tesla crash investigations in addition to this one. Those include a deadly 2018 crash in California in which investigators said the driver was playing video games as the car was on autopilot on the highway.