Cruise says it's not at fault for woman injured in San Francisco crash

Cruise, the autonomous car company said one of its vehicles is not at fault for a crash that sent a woman to the hospital with life-threatening injuries in San Francisco. 

The woman was struck about 9:30 p.m. Monday at 5th and Market streets. It was initially reported to 911 as a car hitting a woman who'd been walking across the street.

And when first responders arrived, they found the woman pinned underneath the self-driving car.

Investigators saw no other vehicles around and there was no one inside the self-driving car, when the crash happened.

But overnight, a spokesperson for Cruise, the company that operates this self-driving car, said company officials were able to view the self-driving car's dash cam video. 

"The initial impact was severe and launched the pedestrian directly in front of the AV," Cruise's statement read. Cruise said their vehicle braked aggressively to minimize the impact, while the driver of the other vehicle involved fled the scene. 

The company says the video clearly shows another car – driven by a human – struck the woman first. 

In the video, it appears as though both cars had a green light as the woman is seen trying to cross the street. 

Cruise shared that video with KTVU for viewing purposes only; the company will not release it publicly. Cruise said they've turned the video over to police. 

The video shows a dark-colored sedan driving next to the Cruise car.

An autonomous vehicle struck a pedestrian in San Francisco Monday night. 

At the same time, a woman is seen crossing the street into oncoming traffic when a driver in the dark-colored car hits her. The impact throws her into the path of the self-driving car and she became pinned underneath it.

The driver of the other car, left the scene.

By the time firefighter arrived, no one else was around.

Firefighters confirmed the woman suffered multiple traumatic injuries in the crash. They rushed her to the hospital. 

In an interview from the scene of the collision, San Francisco Fire Capt. Justin Schorr said this was a unique situation for rescuers.

"When they arrived on scene they found a female underneath the left rear axle of a stopped autonomous vehicle," Schorr said. "Rescuers did not have any drivers or any passengers to ask about the nature of the injuries or how the victim came to be beneath the vehicle." 

Schorr said the woman was trapped under the Cruise vehicle for an unknown amount of time.

Rescuers were able to contact the vehicle operator through the voice controls inside the robo-taxi. The vehicle was disabled to a stop. 

Schorr said heavy rescue tools, including the jaws of life, were utilized to extract the victim. The vehicle had to be lifted off from the victim, and she was then pulled to safety.

Schorr said the victim suffered multiple traumatic injuries as a result of the collision. He said aside from no drivers or passengers, there were also no witnesses on the sidewalk who came forward with information about the crash. Schorr said responders were at the scene within 60 seconds of the initial dispatch. 

As of Tuesday morning, San Francisco police confirmed the basic details of what Cruise said happened, but they stopped short of calling it a hit-and-run investigation.

The autonomous vehicle company has sparked the ire of the city's fire department and other first responders. 

AVs have been blamed for blocking ambulances from responding to emergency scenes. This past summer, San Francisco's fire chief criticized the latest technology, saying AV companies like Waymo and Cruise were not ready for prime time. 

Despite this criticism, the California Public Utilities Commission voted in August to approve the expansion of AVs on city streets, allowing them to collect fares as a taxi service. 

That same month, Cruise agreed to cut their fleet in half after one of their vehicles crashed into an SF Fire Department truck in the Tenderloin.