Parks Worker Arrested in Fatal Hit-and-Run

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Police have arrested a San Francisco parks worker on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and felony hit and run in the death of a woman who was run over while relaxing with her baby daughter and dog in a park.

Police say 57-year-old Thomas Burnoski of San Francisco was taken into custody Friday in connection with Thursday's incident at Holly Park in the Bernal Heights neighborhood.

Authorities say Christine Svanemyr, her baby and dog were on the grass when a maintenance vehicle from the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department hit her and left the scene.

Burnoski, who is currently in jail, has been employed with the parks' department since 2006.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

A woman lying with her baby daughter and her dog in a San Francisco park was run over by a maintenance vehicle and died later at a hospital, authorities said.

The driver apparently fled the scene, but was later detained and questioned. Police found the green San Francisco Recreation and Park vehicle not too far from Holly Park in the city's Bernal Heights neighborhood.

The 35-year-old woman and her daughter were in the grass under some trees when the vehicle struck her shortly after 2 p.m. Thursday, authorities said.

The woman was taken to San Francisco General Hospital where she was pronounced dead from her injuries, said fire department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge.

The name of the woman wasn't released. The girl was unharmed and is now in the custody of her father, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The girl's age was not released. The dog is with Animal Care and Control.

"On behalf of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family and friends of the victim of a tragic accident that occurred at Holly Park this afternoon," Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg said in a statement. "This is a devastating day for all. The Recreation and Park Department is cooperating fully with the San Francisco Police Department as they investigate this accident."

The driver has been an employee of the Park Department since 2006, officials said. His name was not released.

The police hit-and-run unit was investigating, police spokeswoman Tracy Turner said.

Investigators went door to door looking for surveillance video and spoke to witnesses.

Supervisor David Campos, whose district includes Holly Park, said the Board of Supervisors would look at the rules governing park vehicles.

"The idea that you can go into a park with your baby and be run over is impossible to imagine," he told the Chronicle. "Something went wrong here. We can't have anything like this happen again."


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