A woman was recently rescued using the Jaws of Life after being hit by two separate vehicles on a San Francisco street, one of which was an autonomous vehicle. The incident, involving a Cruise self-driving car, occurred shortly after 9:30 p.m., resulting in the woman becoming trapped under the left rear axle of the autonomous vehicle, according to San Francisco Fire Captain Justin Shore.
The circumstances surrounding the incident remain unclear as the car that initially hit the woman fled the scene, and the Cruise vehicle was unoccupied at the time of the accident. “Without any drivers or passengers to question, we’re left to piece together the events leading to the victim ending up beneath the vehicle,” Shore explained.
The duration the woman spent trapped under the Cruise vehicle is unknown. Cruise, in a statement released Tuesday morning, explained that the first vehicle, driven by a human, was in the lane immediately to the left of the autonomous vehicle when it struck the woman. “The initial impact was severe, propelling the pedestrian directly in front of the autonomous vehicle,” the statement read.
Cruise further stated that their vehicle braked “aggressively” in an attempt to minimize the impact. A video shared with local news — but not yet released to the public — shows the victim being hit by the hit-and-run driver before falling into the path of the self-driving car.
The San Francisco Police Department confirmed that the autonomous vehicle remained at the scene following the crash. The vehicle was unoccupied at the time of the incident. Heavy rescue tools, including the Jaws of Life, were used to free the victim, according to Shore. First responders arrived at the scene within a minute of the initial dispatch.
The woman was subsequently transported to a local hospital after receiving immediate medical attention at the scene. San Francisco is currently the testing ground for the nation’s first robotaxis, operated by Cruise, a General Motors-owned company, and Google’s Waymo startup. These autonomous vehicles have been the subject of safety concerns, with complaints about them obstructing emergency vehicles and causing other issues in the city.