Will the driver be held accountable for the Waymo Jan 30 crash near Warner and Rural? Video of the incident show a driver who police say is Raymond Tang traveling along a 45mph posted road swerving, weaving, speeding up and slowing down, and finally successfully maneuvering himself in front of another vehicle and “brake-checking” into a minor crash.
Notice that to be guilty of assault, actually causing an injury is not required, merely “(Intentionally) placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury” is assault. Using a weapon makes it aggravated assault, a serious felony. The intentionally part can sometimes be hard to prove — though videos of such incidents make it obvious to any reasonable person that the acts were intentional.
We hear in the news story reporting the driver was arrested Feb 12 by Tempe Police, that Chandler police are investigating prior (prior to Jan 30) incidents where the suspect was doing similar things and that Police have swept these incidents under-the-rug and never brought any serious charges:
Waymo released a statement regarding the January crash stating that Tang has engaged in similar conduct since November. The statement said these actions have resulted in “misdemeanor charges for disorderly conduct.”
Police and prosecutors frequently seem to bend over backwards to excuse any sort of driver behavior no matter how egregious, boiling down what should be aggravated assault to, in these earlier cases (“since November”), disorder conduct (a minor misdemeanor); or as is more typical no charges or even no investigation whatsoever.
Some sort of court appearance is tomorrow 2/20/2020. An aggravated assault charge would need to be brought in Maricopa County Superior Court.
In semi tangentially related Waymo / autonomous vehicle news — be sure to check out this nut with a gun; Judge sentences Chandler man for pointing gun at Waymo self-driving car