Review finds no basis for criminal charges against Uber in Tempe fatality

Mar 5, 2019, 3:52 PM | Updated: 4:20 pm

PHOENIX – Yavapai County Attorney’s Office found no reason to press criminal charges against Uber over last year’s accident in which a self-driving vehicle hit and killed a woman in Tempe.

The YCAO reviewed the case for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, which had a conflict of interest over a previous working relationship with the ride-hailing service.

Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Sullivan Polk announced the decision in a letter to Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery that was made available to the media.

“After a very thorough review of all the evidence presented, this Office has determined that there is no basis for criminal liability for the Uber corporation arising from this matter,” the letter said.

A self-driving SUV in Uber’s test fleet struck Elaine Herzberg, 49, while she was crossing Mill Avenue near Curry Road on March 18.

A test driver was in the vehicle, but it was operating in autonomous mode.

A Tempe police report released in June found that the driver, Rafaela Vasquez, was watching a TV show on her phone at the time of the accident.

Since YCAO was involved in the case only due to the MCAO’s relationship with Uber, Polk didn’t make any recommendations about possible charges against Vasquez.

“Because this determination eliminates the basis for the MCAO conflict, we are returning the matter to MCAO for further review for criminal charges,” the letter said.

The letter added that video of the incident “likely does not accurately depict the events that occurred” and suggested “expert analysis of the video is needed.”

Uber ended its national test program after the accident but has since restarted operations in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

In February, Herzberg’s family filed a $10 million complaint against Tempe for allegedly failing to make the area of the accident safe for pedestrians.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(ADOT Photo)...
Associated Press

1 person dead in wrong-way crash involving 4 vehicles in Phoenix

A wrong-way collision on a Phoenix freeway early Saturday involved four vehicles and killed the wrong-way driver..
14 hours ago
(Airbnb photo)...
Tom Kuebel

Airbnb names Phoenix family as top new hosts in Arizona

Owners of a Charming Coronado Casita with 123 ratings in its first year were named as the top new Airbnb hosts in Arizona.
14 hours ago
FILE - A dose of a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at Lurie Children's hospital, Nov. 5, 2021, ...

Arizona reports 3,655 new COVID-19 cases, 47 deaths on Saturday

Arizona health officials on Saturday reported 3,655 new COVID-19 cases and 47 deaths.
14 hours ago
FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 18, 2019 file photo, the logo of Google is displayed on a carpet at the...
Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

In need of Gmail storage space cleanup tips? Here are a few to get you started

If you haven’t done much in the past to keep the clutter from building up in your Gmail account, there are a number of places where you can free up valuable storage space.
14 hours ago
(Gilbert Police Department photo)...

Gilbert Police Department hoping for leads in 1991 missing persons cold case

It's been more than 30 years since the disappearance of 23-ear-old Gilbert resident Lisa Jameson, and police are still hoping for tips that may lead to solving the case.
14 hours ago
(Facebook Photo)...

ASU police wellness check turns into interstate effort to help lost elderly couple

Arizona State University police officers last weekend performed a wellness check that became an interstate effort to help a couple who authorities say were confused about where they were.
14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


How your family can explore the Musical Instrument Museum

Whether you want to spend a day with family, do crafts with kids at home, or have an adult night out, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix has options. As the world’s only global musical instrument museum, MIM offers interactive and immersive exhibits to foster an appreciation of different cultures and their instruments. “A visit […]
Schwartz Laser Eye Center

How to sharpen your vision with elective procedures

Imagine opening your eyes in the morning and being able to see clearly. You wouldn’t have to wait to put on glasses or contacts, and there would be no more blurry showers nor forgetting where your glasses are.
PNC Bank

3 cool tips to turn everyday moments into learning experiences for your child

Early brain development has a crucial impact on a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school and life. Research has shown that 90% of a child’s brain is developed by age five.
Review finds no basis for criminal charges against Uber in Tempe fatality