Video shows San Francisco fire truck crashing into motorcyclist

September 12, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The ABC7 News I-Team has exclusive new information about what's turning out to be a complicated case -- a firefighter apparently under the influence driving a ladder truck and hitting a motorcycle. The I-Team has obtained surveillance video showing the collision and uncovered new information about a corruption investigation into the San Francisco Fire Department.

The victim from that motorcycle crash in June now has an attorney, and they sent a claim this week to the city and county of San Francisco, the first step to a lawsuit. In addition to the DUI case against the firefighter, I've learned there's now another criminal investigation into his colleagues, who may have tried to cover for him.

Firefighter Michael Quinn, 43, had just left station one in a ladder truck on a Saturday night in June, on what turned out to be a false alarm. He drove three blocks until the surveillance video picks up. That's 5th Street heading right to left. The motorcycle came west on Howard, the road that's top to bottom.

Quinn blew through a red light and smashed into the motorcycle, sending the rider into a fire hydrant. Fire department rules state the driver has to have control of an intersection before going through. That did not happen in this case.

I can now identify the victim as 50-year-old Jack Frazier of Daly City. He suffered several broken ribs, a punctured lung, broken leg, ankle, foot, and neck and back injuries. He was in the hospital for a month and continues rehabilitation to this day.

Through a lawyer, Frazier declined to be interviewed. But his attorney emailed a statement that reads in part, "He remains in a wheelchair. He stills faces at least one more surgery, and it's unlikely that he will ever fully recover from his injuries. Mr. Frazier is cooperating with the District Attorney's Office."

Sources say firefighters from the ladder truck took Quinn into a nearby bar, The Chieftain, and he began chugging water. That's also captured on a surveillance camera. He left the bar, and hours later, Quinn's blood alcohol level tested at .13, over the .08 the legal limit, and a violation of the department's zero tolerance policy.

I've learned police have launched a corruption investigation into the firefighters who may have tried to help Quinn avoid arrest, by chugging that water. Sources tell me, several of them denied calling or texting Quinn that night, until investigators showed them their phone records.

On Thursday by phone, Chief Joanne Hayes-White confirmed she sent a letter to the fire commission recommending that Quinn be fired. She also told me the department's investigation is almost done and she'll have to decide whether other firefighters from station one violated department rules as well.

Hayes-White told me she would call back about an on-camera interview, but didn't. So I showed up at a fire commission meeting late Thursday afternoon.

Noyes: "How does a firefighter drink on the job, get behind the wheel, and no one stops him?"
Hayes-White: "So, that's all being looked at. We have an administrative investigation, and the police department, with whom we're cooperating fully, has a criminal investigation on that."

San Francisco City Attorney Press Secretary Matt Dorsey issued this statement about the claim, "We've just received the claim, and we're in the process of evaluating it. We obviously take it seriously, and we hope we can resolve the issue in a way that's fair to the claimant as well as taxpayers."

Quinn's attorney told me late Thursday he does not believe charges will be filed against the firefighter, that's there's no proof he was drunk at the time of the crash. Quinn has not been charged yet with DUI. A source close to the firefighters tells me Quinn knows his life as a firefighter is over, and he's trying to figure out what he'll do next.


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