Car gets sandwiched between F line streetcars

August 4, 2009 12:11:01 AM PDT
Six people were hurt when a two Muni street cars and a SUV crashed Monday evening. Passengers of one of the streetcars say they know what went wrong and that their driver was to blame.

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Traffic is now moving through the area around Market and Noe streets, but it was closed down and a mess earlier Monday.

Police still are investigating, but city officials say it already looks like this was completely avoidable.

Passengers in the orange streetcar say it appears their Muni driver was to blame for the accident that left a SUV smashed in between two historic F line streetcars.

They say their driver just kept talking to one of the passengers.

"The driver seemed like he was distracted and wasn't really paying attn :10 all of a sudden out of nowhere he crashes into that vehicle and people went all over the place," Muni passenger Andrew Sartorius said.

Six people were hurt. The driver of the SUV and the driver of the orange streetcar, identified as Lonny Butler, were taken to the hospital where they were treated and released.

Witnesses say the orange street car ran into the SUV, which hit the red streetcar. The orange streetcar then hit the SUV again, wedging it in between the two trains.

"It was very traumatic, I'd say, I've never been through this before scary thing glad no one got hurt," Sartorius said.

Peter fries just cannot believe this happened to him. Not only was he on the red streetcar that was hit, he was also on the Muni light rail train that was hit in the West Portal station two weeks ago.

"I had already gotten out of the car so for this to happen twice, I just do not know what's going on with Muni," Fries said.

San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty also wants to know what is going on with Muni. He says Muni rules require that each F line streetcar be at least a block a part.

"It's clearly evident that rule was totally violated, putting passengers at risk, it makes me incredibly angry to see this happen here," Dufty said.

The driver in the west portal accident also violated a Muni rule.

The Board of Supervisors had already planned a panel discussion for next Monday regarding the safety of Muni and ABC7 is also hearing there is now talk of making some management changes at Muni.

SFMTA Executive Director Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. issued a statement Monday evening saying, "This accident was intolerable and deeply frustrating. I know that the riding public is concerned about Muni safety, and so am I. Our ongoing work to improve Muni safety is clearly more urgent than ever."

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