Family of woman killed in Tempe Uber self-driving accident seeks $10M
PHOENIX – The family of a woman who was hit and killed by a self-driving Uber vehicle last year has filed a $10 million complaint against Tempe.
The widow and daughter of Elaine Herzberg, 49, said in the claim, which is a precursor to a lawsuit, that the city was liable because it failed to “exercise reasonable care” to make the area where she was struck safe for pedestrians.
A brick walkway in the median didn’t align with the any crosswalks, a photo from the National Transportation Safety Board showed.
Herzberg was hit March 18 as she crossed Mill Avenue near Curry Road. She was not in the crosswalk, police said, but the safety driver behind the wheel was watching a TV show on a phone just before the accident.
The car had been going around 40 mph.
Video of the crash showed Herzberg visible in the car’s headlights walking her bicycle across the street. Video point of view switched to the driver, who was looking down, then up.
Rolf Ziemann and Christine Wood each were seeking $5 million to settle Herzberg’s “wrongful death,” the court document said.
The claim read in part:
The City of Tempe created the hazardous condition of a dangerous walkway. Then they failed to (1) provide a crosswalk; (2) properly light the area so drivers could see pedestrians using the walkway; and (3) provide any other modifications that would have permitted safe crossing.
The City of Tempe knew or should have known that pedestrians would use the break in the median to cross the street.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ordered the ride share to stop its autonomous-mode driving tests in the days after the fatal accident.
The East Valley city has 60 days to respond.