Two Muni employees placed on leave after crash

February 1, 2011 12:59:20 PM PST
Two San Francisco Municipal Railway employees have been placed on administrative leave after allowing an unoccupied Muni bus to drift down Van Ness Avenue and crash into a light pole this morning, an agency spokesman said.

The bus crash was reported at 8:38 a.m. at Van Ness Avenue and O'Farrell Street, Muni spokesman Paul Rose said.

There had been complaints of mechanical issues with the bus earlier that morning, and it was stopped near the intersection. A mechanic had responded to work on the bus, Rose said.

While the bus operator and mechanic were working on the bus, it began rolling downhill and struck a light pole on the side of the road, he said.

Carol, an employee at a nearby Bentley auto dealership who did not want to give her last name, said she was told the parking brake on the bus was not put in place.

Rose said Muni officials are "currently looking at that to determine what took place" this morning.

"There are strict policies in place to prevent this type of thing from happening, and it appears none of these policies were followed," he said.

The Muni operator and mechanic will be tested for alcohol and drugs and have been placed on administrative leave. The operator has been placed on nondriving status, Rose said.

The front of the bus was damaged in the crash, which blocked northbound traffic on Van Ness for more than an hour this morning.

Bus service was rerouted around the area until the bus was removed and all lanes reopened shortly before 10 a.m., he said.