Source: Muni driver admits making fatal mistake

April 21, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The bus driver who hit and killed a pedestrian in Downtown San Francisco has told police she made a horrible mistake. The accident happened just before lunchtime in the financial district.

The San Francisco medical examiner's office has identified the victim as 49-year-old San Francisco lawyer Scott Whitsett. ABC7 learned that Whitsett's office was at 201 Mission Street, right across the street from where he was hit.

Muni was not talking on Wednesday and police did not reveal many details. However, a police source told ABC7 that the Muni driver's explanation was that she accidentally accelerated instead of breaking.

Police say a Muni bus was stopped at the light on Mission at Beale when Whitsett stepped off the curb behind it, possibly to hail a cab.

He was then hit by another bus that rear ended the bus stopped at the light, crushing him in between the two vehicles. When the buses separated, he fell to the street, and was run over by the second bus as it continued moving.

Fire fighters had a hard time reaching him under the bus.

"They did get to him, rendered as much first aid as they could from that position, and our rescue squad arrived on the scene and lifted the bus up within just a couple of minutes," said San Francisco Fire Department spokesperson Mindy Talmadge.

But he was pronounced dead a short time later at San Francisco General Hospital.

"It's just a very sad situation, obviously for the family involved, but it was obviously very traumatic for the drivers also involved," said San Francisco Police spokesperson Lt. Lynn Tomioka.

Police cannot talk about the investigation until after its completed, but a police source tells ABC7 News that the driver told investigators she accidentally hit the gas instead of the brakes. Police confirm they are examining surveillance video.

"The investigation determines what occurred out there and the investigation will take its course," said Tomioka.

Per standard procedures, both Muni drivers have been given drug and alcohol tests and have been put on non-driving status.


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