Man dragged under Muni bus speaks out

April 6, 2009 6:45:40 PM PDT
A Muni bus had to be lifted off a passenger early Sunday morning in San Francisco after it dragged him a city block. The ABC7 I-Team has been investigating the performance of Muni drivers for quite some time.

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The I-Team met the victim's family at the Hall of Justice where we were working on another story. They were looking for answers into what happened, and allowed our cameras into the intensive care unit to tell us their story.

Twenty-five-year-old Mohammed Alnaif was a bit groggy from the painkillers, but coherent enough to describe his terrifying ordeal.

He spent Saturday night out with friends when he tried to catch a Muni bus home at Richardson Avenue and Chestnut Street. He boarded the bus, but could not find his transfer pass. He asked the driver to wait, but he ordered Alnaif off the bus.

"I was ready to walk away and everything, and when I found it, 'I'm like, here.' The next thing I know, he was like, 'it's too late now,' this and that, 'you're not coming on my bus,' that kind of scenario," described Alnaif.

The bus pulled away, clipped Alnaif's legs, and he went under.

"I got hit by the front of the bus and then to hold on for my safety before I get under those tires and crush my skull or my head, I had to hold onto something," said Alnaif. "And I did. That's when a miracle happened."

The bus dragged him for a block before the driver stopped and called for help. The fire department had to bring in heavy equipment to lift the bus off Alnaif. He suffered broken bones, damage to his spine, and had skin scraped off his back.

In the hospital waiting room, the I-Team met his family from Iraq. They are refugees from the first Gulf War. They showed us Alnaif's clothing, shredded by the ground.

"For that bus driver, it was wrong of him to do that and to just continue on driving somebody under the bus for one block. That's uncalled for," said his brother, Ahmed Alnaif.

Late Monday, Muni identified the bus driver as Ronald Coffey. He has worked for Muni for eight years. He is now on non-driving status, pending an investigation. An agency spokesman says the driver's blood tests for drugs and alcohol have not come back yet.

Alnaif's father, Abdul, said the accident has been a tremendous strain on the family.

"He (Abdul) says life is a valuable thing, you just don't run it over like that, he's a human, you know, he's a human, and he got feelings and he got a family, why would you do such a thing like that?" explained Alnaif's brother.

As we have reported in the past, surveillance cameras usually capture everything that happens aboard the city's buses. However, in this case, Muni says the recorder was not working. The agency wants to speak with Alnaif, when he feels up to it.

Read a statement from Muni in a new I-Team blog here.

Previous I-Team reports:

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