Tuesday, September 17, 2013

San Francisco Municipal Recreation and Parks Truck Kills Daly City Resident Christine Svanemyr

On Thursday, September 5th at around 2:30 p.m., Daly City resident Christine Svanemyr was run over at Holly Park in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights Neighborhood.   This tragic pedestrian accident occurred while Mrs. Svanemyr was sunbathing on the grass with her 11-month-old daughter and dog.  A San Francisco Recreation and Parks maintenance vehicle struck her before fleeing the scene. 

The driver of the truck has been identified as 57-year-old Thomas Burnoski.  Mr. Burnoski was eventually found by authorities in his truck a few blocks away from the scene of the incident.  He was detained by San Francisco Police Officers, transported to the Ingleside Station and arrested for causing Mrs. Svanemyr’s death and fleeing the scene.  

According to published reports, Mrs. Svanemyr suffered severe head and chest trauma and was rushed to San Francisco General Hospital for emergency treatment.  Shortly after arriving to the hospital, she was pronounced dead.  Her daughter, Isa Amalie, was reportedly unharmed from the accident. 

Mrs. Svanemyr was 35-year-old life coach, Zen monk, and accomplished professional dancer.  She worked as the director of development for New Ventures West.  She is survived by her husband, Vegar Svanemyr, who also works for New Ventures West.  At Matiasic Roth & Johnson LLP our thoughts and prayers are with the Svanemyr family in their time of unimaginable grief.  No family should be forced to endure this type of avoidable and senseless tragedy.   

At the time of the accident, Burnoski was violating city policy by driving though the grass of the park in a City owned pick-up truck.   San Francisco Recreation and Parks spokeswoman Sarah Ballard commented on maintenance vehicle policy and indicated that workers were not allowed to drive on park pathways, sidewalks, closed roads, or the actual park for mere convenience purposes.  She also assured the outraged public that San Francisco Recreation and Parks policy requires for there to always be an extra spotter for a vehicle if it was driving on park grounds.  Sadly, it appeared as though no spotter was on site, and that the collision occurred in a grassy area that was well removed from the roadway.  It has been reported that the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department had previously received several complaints that City maintenance vehicles were repeatedly driving too fast and driving on pedestrian paths in Holly Park and other City parks.   
Mrs. Svanemyr’s family is entitled to compensation for her wrongful death.  Compensation of damages can include past medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, emotional distress, loss of consortium, pain and suffering.  Victims of pedestrian accidents need an experienced pedestrian accident attorney who will aggressively pursue compensation for the full extent of damages.   

At Matiasic Roth & Johnson LLP, we urge that a comprehensive pedestrian accident investigation is conducted in order to find all sources of liability for this devastating accident and prevent future accidents.  In pedestrian-truck accidents, there may be multiple sources of liability.  In addition to the driver, the City of San Francisco may also be liable for being reckless, and not verifying that its drivers had the required skills and experience to safely operate maintenance trucks.  Furthermore, the City of San Francisco is responsible for ensuring that its employees are compliant with all vehicle safety rules and regulations. 

Claims against municipal entities are controlled by the California Government Tort Claims Act which requires that a claim is filed within six months.  Accordingly, it is imperative that victims immediately contact an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer in order to protect their rights.  The dedicated pedestrian accident lawyers of Matiasic Roth & Johnson LLP specialize in fighting for victims of pedestrian accidents.  Call our office today for a free consultation and case evaluation.

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