Distracted Muni Driver Crashes Into SUV: Witness

Historic streetcars damaged in 2nd Muni accident in less than a month

By Derek Highsmith
|  Tuesday, Aug 4, 2009  |  Updated 10:05 AM PDT
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Crash Shakes Up Muni Passengers, Sandwiches SUV

NBCBayArea.com

Six passengers were injured when the Muni train crashed into the back of an SUV Monday.

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Crash Shakes Up Muni Passengers, Sandwiches SUV

Six people were injured Monday in a collision between two SF Mun trains and an SUV, just weeks after another Muni collision sent dozens to the hospital.
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A passenger tells NBC Bay Area that a distracted train operator may have caused a historic San Francisco Muni streetcar to crash into an SUV, pushing it into another train late Monday.

The drivers of the train and the Nissan Pathfinder were taken to a hospital while three others were treated for injuries at the scene. A sixth person declined treatment for injuries. None of the injuries appear to be life-threatening.

"I didn't think nothing of it because it was just a little redness in my hand," said Gene Cain, a passenger, of his injury. "Then it started swelling up."

It happened on the F-Line on Market Street at Noe. The F-Line uses restored streetcars from around the world instead of the more modern streetcars seen throughout the city.

Passengers were reported falling out of their seats due to the impact of the crash.

One witness says the operator was having conversation with a passenger at the time of impact.

The crash happened around 5:45 p.m. closed Market Street at Noe Street and stopped service along the F-line. Bus service was provided around the accident. The street opened and service was restored shortly after 8 p.m.

Most of the F-line track along Market Street is closed to regular traffic -- open to only to trains, buses, and taxis. The rule is posted on signs along Market Street but car drivers often ignore it.

This is the second major accident involving Muni trains in less than a month. On July 18, nearly 50 people were hurt when a L-Taraval slammed into a K-Ingleside under the control of a train operator. The operator responsible is believed to have blacked out around the time of the accident.

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