Former San Francisco firefighter pleads not guilty to DUI charges

Thursday, May 29, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO -- A former San Francisco firefighter pleaded not guilty Thursday morning to DUI charges that came down from a grand jury indictment for a 2013 crash between his fire truck and a motorcycle.

Michael Quinn, 43, entered not guilty pleas to three felony charges of DUI, including DUI causing injury and driving a commercial motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .04 percent or higher.

Quinn appeared before San Francisco Superior Court Judge Bruce Chan and remains out of custody on $100,000 bail for the incident on June 28, 2013.

He was arrested after he hit a motorcycle on Fifth and Howard streets in the city's South of Market neighborhood.

The motorcyclist suffered serious injuries in the crash and has since been recovering.

In March, Quinn was indicted by a grand jury after the San Francisco District Attorney's Office initially declined to file charges last July following his arrest.

Quinn, a 23-year veteran of the fire department, resigned from the department in November. He had been placed on unpaid leave following his arrest.

Prior to his arrest, he had no record of misconduct and had received two merit awards for his work out of Station 1, located at 935 Folsom St., according to the firefighters' union.

His attorney Jim Bustamante said outside of court this morning that he is "optimistic" about the outcome of the case.

"My client will come out OK," Bustamante said.

Bustamante said he was surprised the case went before the grand jury and said that there is a lot of circumstantial evidence.

He expressed doubt about the quality of DUI testing performed after the incident and the maintenance records of the vehicles involved.

Bustamante said he has more than a thousand pages of evidence to look through and 30 witness accounts.

The court scheduled the attorneys to return to discuss the case on June 30. Quinn does not have to appear at that time.

"We feel for the gentleman on the motorcycle," Bustamante said.

He said that Quinn is "doing well" and is caring for his family.