Operator of self-driving Uber vehicle that killed pedestrian was felon

Operator of self-driving Uber vehicle that killed pedestrian was felon

Excerpted from and WSTP.com post by Bree Burkitt and Ryan Randazzo

PHOENIX — The operator behind the wheel of a self-driving Uber vehicle that hit and killed a 49-year-old woman Sunday night had served almost four years in an Arizona prison in the early 2000s on an attempted armed robbery conviction.

A representative for Uber declined to comment on the conviction and the company’s hiring policies, citing an active investigation.

Elaine Herzberg was walking a bike across a street outside a crosswalk in Tempe, Ariz., at about 10 p.m. when she was hit, police said.
Police said the vehicle was in autonomous mode with an operator, who has been identified as 44-year-old Rafaela Vasquez, behind the wheel at the time of the crash.

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

The San Francisco-based company recently came under fire for hiring felons. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission company fined Uber’s parent company $8.9 million in November 2017 after an investigation determined the ride-hailing service had hired nearly 60 drivers with previous felony convictions.

Uber has more than 18,000 contract drivers and 1,000 employees in Arizona, with most staffers at the downtown Phoenix operations center.

You can read the full post here.

 

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