Earlier this week, a San Francisco Muni bus driver was charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter under California Penal Code section 192(c)(2) for an accident that occurred last August. A criminal charge in a case like this is somewhat unusual. The charge of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter carries a jail term of up to one year.
What happened last August in a Castro district intersection is tragic. The bus, which was not carrying passengers at the time, was traveling to a new assignment when it made a left turn and struck a female pedestrian who was nearly to the curb. According to a report in SFGate, the driver was relatively new to Muni and was, in the District Attorneys’ view, negligent in not seeing the young woman in the street. The deceased pedestrian was new to the city, she had moved here from Atlanta and was working for a local business.
Neither alcohol nor drugs were involved in the tragic accident. Sadly, it is believed that the pedestrian was distracted and did not see or hear the bus. In addition, the bus was not on a normal route, as the bus driver had determined his own route across town to get to his new assignment.
Whether there was a failure of communication between the driver and the central communications personnel as to the best way for him to get to where he needed to be to relieve a congested route, is not clear. This might become more clear as this matter goes forward in the courts.
Only one other pedestrian was killed last year by a Muni vehicle. According to reports, in the previous five years, there were an average of four to five pedestrian deaths involving Muni vehicles. In 2009, there was only one death.
When tragic events occur in our lives, often we need the support of experts who can help traverse legal and medical issues. The San Francisco injury law firm of Hersh & Hersh has helped families coping with serious accidents and wrongful death for four decades. If you have a situation that you would like to talk with us about, please contact our law offices for a free consultation with one of our lawyers about your legal rights.