SF city gardener charged in fatal hit-and-run is fired

November 3, 2013 5:54:47 PM PST
San Francisco's Recreation and Park Department has fired a man accused of killing a woman with a city vehicle.

Thomas Burnoski is charged with running over 35-year-old Christine Svanemyr on Sept. 5 as she relaxed in the grass with her dog and her baby at Holly Park.

Burnoski says he veered onto the lawn from a paved pedestrian path to avoid an unleashed dog. After hitting the woman, he drove to a work meeting.

His lawyer, Robert Waggener, says the 58-year-old didn't realize he had hit a person and that the case was a tragic accident.

Burnoski was arraigned last week.

Afterward, police say his son, Jonathan Burnoski, was involved in a possible hit-and-run with a bicyclist while leaving court. However, on Friday police decided not to charge him.

Earlier this year, Burnoski lost a daughter, Tiffany, who was killed in a traffic accident in April while driving to San Francisco from school at California State University, Fullerton.

"It's been pretty horrific, the whole series of tragedies that have occurred," Waggener said.

Burnoski will return to court for another status hearing on Dec. 17.

(Bay City News and the Associated Press contributed to this report)


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