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Police: Man Who Drove SUV into Muni Tunnel Was Drunk

The bizarre incident shut down Muni train service for two hours

Police say a drunk driver drove his SUV deep into a Muni tunnel just before 6 a.m. Thursday, shutting down Muni metro train service for two hours at the height of the morning commute.

Officers arrested Scott Mitchell, a 40-year-old Sebastopol resident, for suspicion of driving under the influence, driving on the tracks and failing to obey multiple "do not enter" signs.

A Muni supervisor who witnessed the bizarre incident told the Examiner that Mitchell swerved around a train that was about to enter the tunnel at Church Street and Duboce Avenue and then continued driving on the tracks nearly all the way to the Van Ness station. The vehicle came to a stop when it encountered some cement steps, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

“According to recent history, this was the furthest anyone has gotten,” said Paul Rose, spokesman for Muni. “It’s happened in the past where people attempt to drive into the portal but they usually turn around right away. I mean, there’s an electrical sign that lights up that tells people not to drive there.”

Scott Mitchell, DUI SuspectMuni crews and police officers removed the SUV from the tracks, and trains began running a little after 8 a.m. The vehicle is still on the side of the tracks, Rose said. It will be removed at the end of the day. 

Rose said that the SUV damaged a switch on the tracks. Trains must drive slowly over that location until repairs can be made later Thursday.

When asked if he was surprised by how far the driver was able to get into the tunnel, Rose said, “Nothing surprises me anymore."

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