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DA: Muni Driver Could Be Charged in Woman's Death

 

The Muni driver who ran over and killed Emily Dunn at a Castro intersection could face criminal charges.

District Attorney George Gascon said at a press conference on pedestrian safety Tuesday that his office is considering filing charges in the Aug. 19 incident. He is also considering prosecuting a UCSF shuttle driver for a crash that killed a passenger -- and an automobile driver who hit a pedestrian.

Last week, he filed charges against a bicyclist for hitting and killing an elderly woman.

“Frankly, the last few months we’ve had several instances with fatalities that did not need to occur,” Gascon said. “While my office is looking at these cases and where appropriate will prosecute these cases aggressively, I’d much rather not have to prosecute them in the first place.”

Police say that Emily Dunn, 23, was almost across Hartford Street when a Muni bus turning left from 18th Street crushed her under its wheels. The Examiner reported that Dunn, an avid traveler, had just moved to the city a month before she was killed.

Gascon said the bus driver could be charged with criminal negligence, but declined to elaborate.

Pedestrians advocates who stood alongside Gascon said they could not remember the last time a Muni operator faced criminal charges for hitting a pedestrian.

“It’s a big step forward,” said Pi Ra, an organizer with Senior Action Network, “It’s the city prosecuting the city. Usually they want to avoid the conflict and the politics that come with it.”

Muni spokesman Paul Rose said the Muni operator, who was driving the empty bus, remains on "non-driving status" and is not allowed to drive for the transit agency.

Muni drivers have killed two pedestrians this year, Rose said. Bay Citizen columnist Scott James witnessed the other incident, in which a Muni bus struck an elderly security guard near 5th and Mission Streets. A spokeswoman for Gascon said he is not yet considering fiing charges in that case. 

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