Woman Killed by SF City Vehicle Identified, Driver Arrested

35-year-old mother run over by SF Rec and Park pickup truck as she lay in the grass with her baby and dog

She was 35, a wife and the mother of an 11-month-old baby girl named Isa. On Friday, NBC Bay Area learned the identity of the woman killed at San Francisco's Holly Park Thursday afternoon.

Christine Svanemyr died from her injuries at San Francisco General Hospital after she was run over by a San Francisco Recreation and Parks vehicle as she lay under the shade of a tree at the Bernal Heights park.

Svanemyr, who lived in Daly City, worked for New Ventures West, a life coach training company in San Francisco, as a director of enrollment. Joy Mazzola sent a statement out on behalf of the company, saying, in part, “Her high energy and infectious enthusiasm impacted everything and everyone she touched. Those who knew her say it was impossible not to be moved by her.”

The statement also emphasized just how much Svanemyr loved her family. “The central joy of her life was her family: 11-month-old daughter Isa and her husband Vegar… In addition to her family, Christy’s legacy resides in the thousands of people she came in contact with, and with the hundreds who benefited from her friendship, guidance, and love."

Meanwhile, the man arrested on suspicion of the fatal hit-and-run, Tom Burnoski, was released from jail Friday after posting bail.

The 57-year-old Burnoski was unable to be reached by NBC Bay Area for comment.


Earlier in the day before he was released, Burnoski's family spoke to NBC Bay Area.

Jonathan Burnoski, 19, of San Francisco, described the emotions after learning his father, Tom Burnoski, had been arrested for Svanemyr’s death.

“I need him back,” said the younger Burnoski. “We all need him back.”

The family of five siblings used to have six. In April, they lost 20-year-old Tiffany Burnoski, who was killed in a car crash on her way home to San Francisco from Cal State Fullerton.

“My 20-year-old sister passed away on my 19th birthday on April 6, not too long ago,” Jonathan Burnoski said. “So I feel for the child and what happened to the woman. I understand what her family, the other side, is going through.”

“Since then we’ve just been trying to stick together and pick up those pieces,” said Jamie Magpoc, 30, the oldest of the six siblings. “And that’s what he does every day - going to work, working hard for his family, taking care of each one of us.”

Tom Burnoski has been working for the San Francisco’s Recreation and Parks Department since 2006. Before that, his children say he also taught at a local private school and loved talking to people. The department said he is now on paid administrative leave as investigators look into what they’ve classified as a hit-and-run.

As of Friday afternoon, Magpoc said no one had been able to reach her father, who’s behind bars at the county jail.

“He is a family man all about his children, and he has a big heart,” Magpoc said. “Not malicious and not somebody who would think to put people in harm’s way.”

Neighbors have told NBC Bay Area they’ve seen park workers driving around too fast. The Recreation and Parks Department confirmed early Friday evening that there have been two complaints filed about workers driving unsafely at Holly Park in 2013.

The first was in February, a complaint filed about workers who cleaned bathrooms driving on pedestrian paths too fast, and sometimes even in the dark. The department said one worker was fired as a result, and the case was closed.

The second case was filed last Thursday, Aug. 29, with a similar complaint of workers driving on pedestrian paths and over sprinklers. That case remains open.

San Francisco Supervisor David Campos said he will be personally looking into these reports as a follow-up.

City protocol states that no worker can drive a vehicle off a path or onto a parkscape. If required, it also states there must be an additional worker outside the vehicle helping to guide the driver as a safety measure.

Contact Us