Pedestrian Walking a Bicycle Killed By Uber Self-Driving Vehicle in Tempe Arizona; Human Operator Is Convicted Felon

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Uber is confirming that one of its self-driving vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian in the Phoenix metro area Sunday night. Company officials say Uber is halting all of its self-driving testing as of Monday as the investigation continues. (March 19)

The first fatal accident involving a fully-automated vehicle has occurred in Tempe, Arizona. Elaine Herzberg was walking a bike across Mill Avenue from west to east outside the crosswalk near the Marquee Theatre at about 10 p.m. when she was hit, according to police. The Uber vehicle, while in full autonomous mode, was northbound on Mill Avenue.

Police said the vehicle was in autonomous mode with a female operator, Rafaela Vasquez, age 44, who police determined was not impaired. The operator was behind the wheel at the time of the crash.

Initial investigation showed that the vehicle was traveling approximately 40 MPH and that the vehicle did not show signs of showing down before the crash.

Elaine Herzberg, age 49, who is believed to have been homeless with a criminal history for drug offenses, may have suddenly stepped in front of the Uber vehicle.

Records from the Arizona Department of Corrections show Rafaela Vasquez served three years and 10 months in a state prison for convictions of charges of attempted armed robbery and unsworn falsification. Rafaela Vasquez was released from prison in 2005.

An investigation is underway after a woman was struck and killed by a self-driving Uber in Tempe on Sunday evening.


Tempe Police says the Uber vehicle was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash and a vehicle operator was also behind the wheel. No passengers were in the vehicle at the time.

Tempe police are investigating a crash involving a self-driving Uber vehicle overnight. A pedestrian was killed in the crash.

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