Earlier this month, GM’s autonomous vehicle technology division, Cruise, faced criticism after an internal San Francisco Fire Department report was published indicating that a Cruise AV had delayed an ambulance from transporting a patient to the hospital, contributing to the patient’s eventual death. Now, new details have come to light, including clarification on the extent to which Cruise AVs have been blamed for the death of the pedestrian. Cruise continues to deny that its autonomous vehicles blocked the ambulance from transporting the victim.
Per a report from The San Francisco Standard, the victim, 69-year-old Sammy Davis, was struck by the rear of a Muni bus at Harrison and Seventh streets in SoMa on August 14th, around 11 p.m. local time. The driver and passengers did not notice at the time that Davis had been hit.
An internal SF Fire Department report picked up by media indicated that a Cruise AV had blocked the road as an ambulance attempted to transport Davis to the hospital. The report states that “this delay, no matter how minimal, contributed to a poor patient outcome,” while adding that “the fact that Cruise autonomous vehicles continue to block ingress to critical 911 calls is unacceptable.”
Now, the SF fire chief has issued a joint statement with the SF Municipal Transportation Agency stating that the report “reflects the subjective experience of an individual first responder who submitted an internal report to the fire department,” adding that the report “does not reflect a judgement of the fire department or the fire chief.”
“The San Francisco Fire Chief has not attributed this pedestrian death to Cruise AVs,” the statement says.
“Nothing lessens the tragedy of a lost life, but we appreciate the fire chief’s clarification that they have not attributed this to Cruise,” a Cruise spokesperson said in a statement made earlier this week.
Cruise maintains that it has proprietary footage of the incident that clearly shows none of its EVs blocked the ambulance from transporting Davis to the hospital.