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Uber 'Resolves' Matter With Family of Arizona Woman Killed by Self-Driving Car

The Uber self-driving car after its impact with pedestrian Elaine Herzberg on March 18.EXPAND
The Uber self-driving car after its impact with pedestrian Elaine Herzberg on March 18.
Tempe Police

A Glendale lawyer said today that Uber has "resolved" matters with the family of Elaine Herzberg, the woman killed on March 18 by an Uber self-driving car.

Cristina Perez-Hesano, an attorney for Bellah Perez, PLLC, reportedly told Reuters late last night that a "settlement" had occurred between Uber and and Herzberg's daughter and husband.

Perez-Hesano did not name the family members or provide any other details to Reuters.

Although Reuters reported that a settlement had occurred, when reached this morning, Perez-Hesano told Phoenix New Times that, "the daughter and the husband of the late Ms. Herzberg have no further comments on this matter as it has been resolved. We appreciate your cooperation in advance."

Asked if that means a settlement had taken place, Perez-Hesano would only repeat by email that, "The matter between UBER and my clients has been resolved. There will be no further comment."

However, Perez-Hesano did comment after this article was published, stating New Times "would be incorrect to state" that a settlement had occurred.

Uber, based in San Francisco, did not return an email seeking comment.

Herzberg died on March 18 after being struck by the Uber Volvo SUV, which at the time was in autonomous mode. The exact nature of "autonomous mode" at that time has not been clarified by Uber.

A dashcam-type video released by the company and Tempe police shows Herzberg was crossing from west to east across Mill Avenue, just south of Curry Road, when the Volvo struck her going about 40 mph.

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Herzberg wasn't in a crosswalk. The  so-called self-driving car didn't even slow down. And the backup driver, Rafaela Vasquez, 49, was not looking at the road in the seconds before the impact, video of the SUV's interior showed.

Perez-Hesano did not reply when asked if the family intends to file a claim with the state.

Kirk Adams, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey's chief of staff, told New Times before the crash that the state would likely not be liable if someone were killed by a self-driving vehicle, despite Ducey's prominent encouragement of self-driving cars in a rules-free environment.

(CORRECTION: The headline of this article originally said the family settled with Uber. The family's lawyer says that word would be incorrect.)

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