An Arizona woman was killed by a self-driving Uber car when she crossed an unlit road with her bike on Wednesday evening, RadarOnline.com has learned. In shocking footage taken by a camera inside the vehicle, Elaine Herzberg, 49, is seen crossing the road seconds before being hit by the automatic car.
In the video, driver Rafaela Vasquez is seen looking at what seems to be her cellphone as she sits behind the wheel of the Uber. She was reportedly hired as a “safety driver” by the company, and was meant to take control of the self-driving car if anything went wrong.
Reports claim Vasquez was going below the speed limit at the time of the crash, and did not see Herzberg crossing the street until it was too late to stop. The victim was taken to the hospital in critical condition, and died later that day from her injuries.
RadarOnline.com has learned that Vasquez had two felony convictions and various run-ins with the law before she was hired by Uber to participate in its self-driving car trials in Arizona. She previously spent time in jail for attempted armed robbery, and was convicted of unsworn falsification in 1999. At the time, the driver identified as male, and was named Rafael Vasquez.
Even though Vasquez was not successful in stopping the crash, authorities agree that there was nothing she could have done in the situation. Police have also discovered that Herzberg had a criminal past, and was crossing the road illegally at the time of the collision.
“The driver said it was like a flash, the person walked out in front of them,” said Sylvia Moir, the Tempe Police Chief to The San Francisco Chronicle. “Vasquez’s first alert to the collision was the sound of the collision.”
“It's very clear it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode (autonomous or human-driven) based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway.”
Uber has pulled its self-driving vehicles from the Arizona area following Herzberg’s death.
“The video is disturbing and heartbreaking to watch, and our thoughts continue to be with Elaine’s loved ones,” an Uber spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal following the accident.
The company also told reporters: “Our hearts go out to the victim's family. We are fully cooperating with authorities and investigations of this incident.”
Friends of Elaine Herzberg spoke to various outlets about the crash, arguing that Uber should be shut down for good after such tragedy.
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