A Tesla that may have been operating in "Full Self-Driving" mode crashed into a firetruck at high speed on I-680 last month, and this has triggered a new investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The crash was pretty odd, to say the least. A fire engine that was stopped on I-680 in Walnut Creek, with the crew about to clear the scene of a non-injury accident around 4 a.m. on February 18, was slammed by a Tesla Model S that seemingly didn't see the truck there. The driver was killed instantly, and a passenger was critically injured.

Given the late hour that this occurred, it seems plausible that the driver was literally asleep at the wheel with the car on autopilot, but now the feds have launched a probe to determine what may have occurred.

As the Associated press reports, the fire truck was parked across the lanes of the freeway in order to shield the crew at work, and this crash seems to be part of a disturbing pattern for Teslas.

"NHTSA is investigating how Tesla’s Autopilot system detects and responds to emergency vehicles parked on highways," the AP reports. "At least 15 Teslas have crashed into emergency vehicles nationwide while using the system."

The Walnut Creek crash happened two days after Tesla issued its latest recall, announcing that 362,758 vehicles equipped with the company's full-self-driving (FSD) software would have to undergo a software-based, wireless update. At the time, the company issued a statement saying it was complying with the recall, which was in response to a letter from the NHTSA about several safety concerns, but Tesla "does not agree with an agency analysis of the problem."

It's not clear if Tesla's communications and PR department was still operating at that point, three-ish weeks ago. But as the AP notes today, "Messages were left Wednesday seeking comment from Tesla, which has disbanded its public relations department."

Sound familiar? One of Elon Musk's other companies, a certain social media platform called Twitter, also lacks a PR department after sweeping layoffs that occurred at the company last fall. Musk, as we've seen, prefers to handle all public relations himself, via whim and tweet.

As the AP separately reports, the NHTSA posted documents Wednesday that reveal another investigation into spontaneously detaching steering wheels on Tesla Model Ys — the company's SUV line. In one harrowing account, new Tesla Model Y owner Prerak Patel tells the AP that, five days after purchasing the car, he was driving on Route 1 in Woodbridge, New Jersey on January 29 with his family when the steering wheel just popped off. Patel was luckily able to stop the car and get it pulled over to the median from the left lane where he was driving — but the subsequent response from Tesla is a little bit more than disturbing. The company allegedly — as seen in a text thread Patel posted to Twitter — wanted to charge Patel a repair fee for the malfunctioning steering wheel, and they informed him that he could not get a refund for the car, just a replacement.

As far as the "Full Self-Driving" mode is concerned, Tesla has previously pointed to its owner's manual, which instructs drivers that they have to be ready to take control of the vehicle at any time, and that the autopilot function is merely an advanced "driver assist system," and not meant to be fully automated.