PHOENIX (AP) — A man described as a disgruntled former Waymo driver has been arrested on suspicion of deliberately crashing a passenger car into one of the company’s vans with self-driving capabilities near Phoenix, authorities said Thursday.
Tempe police said Raymond Tang, 31, was booked into jail Wednesday night and is facing felony charges of aggravated assault and criminal damage, and misdemeanor counts of endangerment and reckless driving.
Waymo officials said Tang “engaged in similar conduct, which resulted in misdemeanor charges for disorderly conduct and criminal damage against him in November 2019.”
The Arizona Republic reported in December that police in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler have documented at least 21 cases in the past two years involving Waymo vehicles, including one in which a man waved a gun at a Waymo van. Police also said a Jeep forced vans off the road six times.
Court documents released Thursday say Tang’s vehicle has been documented on video in several crimes against Waymo vehicles in Chandler between last Oct. 23 and Dec. 10 that have caused more than $3,200 in damages.
A probable cause statement shows the Jan. 30 crash caused an estimated $3,500 damage to the Waymo van.
Chandler police didn’t immediately return a call Thursday seeking comment on whether they are investigating Tang, but Tempe police said they are working with Waymo.
Tang didn’t have an attorney when he made a brief initial appearance Thursday in Maricopa County Superior Court. He only spoke to state his name and date of birth and to say he understood the release terms set by a court commissioner, who ordered Tang to remain jailed on an $18,000 bond.
Tang has a Feb. 24 preliminary hearing in a Mesa court.
A statement from Waymo called Tang “a disgruntled former…