More than 20 people were taken to hospitals, one with serious injuries, after two separate crashes involving city transit vehicles just minutes apart, San Francisco fire officials said.
Westbound Geary Boulevard was closed between Webster and Laguna streets in Japantown for about two-and-a-half hours Friday afternoon by the accident involving two dump trucks and Muni's 38L-Geary Limited bus shortly before 1:30 p.m.
The crash appears to have occurred when the driver of a westbound dump truck traveling in front of the bus slammed on the brakes, Sgt. Danielle Newman said.
The driver of the Muni bus slowed down and swerved to avoid the dump truck, and then struck another dump truck traveling in the same direction, Newman said.
There were 20 people injured in the collision, including 12 who were transported to San Francisco General Hospital for injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening, and eight who were treated and released at the scene.
There is no dollar estimate of the damage, but the Muni bus was significantly damaged, according to Muni spokesman Paul Rose.
The roadway was cleared about 4 p.m. and buses resumed service on Geary Boulevard, Muni officials said.
Muni is testing the driver for drugs and investigating who is at fault in the accident, officials said.
In a second incident, reported at 1:36 p.m., an 18-wheel big-rig hit a Muni light-rail vehicle at Third and Innes streets in the Bayview neighborhood.
Police said the light-rail vehicle was traveling north on Third Street toward downtown when the truck, which was also traveling north on Third, allegedly made an illegal left turn on to Innes Street in front of the train.
The collision caused the train to derail several feet off the tracks, according to Officer Albie Esparza.
A total of 11 people were transported to the hospital and nine patients declined transport, a fire official said. Injuries ranged from moderate to mild, officials said.
The collision closed Third Street from Jerrold to Hudson avenues and Muni riders were being advised to find alternate means of travel as the collisions were expected to affect the evening commute, Esparza said.
[PHOTOS] Multiple Injuries Involving Separate Muni Accidents in San Francisco
A Muni bus was sent to help shelter those injured in the second accident, according to the fire department.
The driver of the big-rig had not been cited as of this afternoon, pending the completion of an investigation, Esparza said.
The last major Muni accident with this many injuries happened in July 2009. Forty-six passengers were hurt when one light rail train slammed into another at the West Portal station. Investigators concluded the operator on one of those trains lost consciousness and blacked out.
Bay City News contributed to this story.