The backup operator of a self-driving Uber that killed a woman in 2018 pleaded guilty Friday to a minor crime.
Officials had originally charged Rafaela Vasquez with negligent homicide, she pleaded guilty to endangerment, an undesignated charge, during a morning court hearing. Sentencing began after the guilty plea.
She was sentenced by a Superior Court of Maricopa judge to three years of supervised probation. The judge also determined the charge would only be designated as a misdemeanor upon the successful completion of her sentence.
Vasquez was the backup operator in the March 2018 crash that killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg as she walked a bicycle outside the lines of a crosswalk in Tempe. Vasquez previously told police that Herzberg came out of nowhere and that she didnt see her prior to the collision.
Authorities said Vasquez was streaming a television show on a phone and was looking downward in the moments before Ubers Volvo XC-90 SUV collided with Herzberg.
Defense attorneys allege that police and prosecutors presented clearly false information to a grand jury in order to criminally charge Vasquez after the deadly crash.
Vasquezs attorneys said she was actually looking at a messaging activity used by Uber employees on a work cellphone on her right knee, and the show was playing on a separate phone on the passenger seat.
Prosecutors declined to file criminal charges against Uber in Herzbergs death after the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the main cause of the crash was Vasquezs failure to monitor the road.
The crash in Arizona wasnt the first involving an Uber autonomous test vehicle. In March 2017, an Uber SUV flipped onto its side, also in Tempe. No serious.