BuzzFeed News

Reporting To You

An Autonomous Uber Vehicle Struck And Killed A Woman In Arizona

Police in Tempe, Arizona, are investigating a fatal crash in which a woman was struck and killed by a self-driving Uber vehicle.

Last updated on March 21, 2018, at 7:57 p.m. ET

Posted on March 19, 2018, at 1:03 p.m. ET

A woman was struck and killed by a self-driving Uber vehicle in Tempe, Arizona, Sunday night, according to local police.

In a statement, local police said the vehicle was "in autonomous mode at the time of the collision, with a vehicle operator behind the wheel."

The pedestrian, 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, was crossing the street with a bicycle outside of the crosswalk when she was struck, and later died at the hospital, according to police.

The vehicle's operator, 44-year-old Rafaela Vasquez, is cooperating with the investigation, according to Tempe Police Media Relations Sergeant Ronald Elcock, who gave a press conference on Monday afternoon.

Elcock said neither the driver nor victim were impaired at the time of the accident, and there is no evidence that the Uber vehicle, which was traveling 40 miles per hour at the time of impact, slowed down.

"Once the pedestrian got into the lane of traffic with the vehicle, the vehicle struck the pedestrian," he said. The Tempe Police Department's investigation is ongoing, and a second press conference is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

Uber has been testing its autonomous vehicles in Arizona for over a year. In March 2017, Uber suspended its self-driving program in Arizona for two days after an autonomous vehicle crashed, flipping onto its side.

Uber told BuzzFeed News that it has halted its self-driving operations across the US, in cities including Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto.

The Tempe Police provided the following statement:

On March 18, 2018 at approximately 10pm, Tempe PD responded to a traffic collision on Curry Road and Mill Avenue in Tempe, Arizona. The vehicle involved is one of the Uber’s self-driving vehicles. It was in autonomous mode at the time of the collision, with a vehicle operator behind the wheel. The vehicle was traveling northbound just south of Curry Road when a female walking outside of the crosswalk crossed the road from west to east when she was struck by the Uber vehicle. The female was identified as 49 year old Elaine Herzberg. Herzberg was transported to a local area hospital where she passed away from her injuries. Uber is assisting and this is still an active investigation.

Uber said in a tweet Monday, "We’re fully cooperating with @TempePolice and local authorities as they investigate this incident." CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted, "We’re thinking of the victim’s family as we work with local law enforcement to understand what happened."

Some incredibly sad news out of Arizona. We’re thinking of the victim’s family as we work with local law enforcement to understand what happened. https://t.co/cwTCVJjEuz



ADVERTISEMENT