San Francisco

San Francisco Could Settle Lawsuit in Firefighter DUI Collision For $5 Million

San Francisco could pay nearly $5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a man injured in a collision with a fire truck driven by an allegedly intoxicated firefighter.

Jack Frazier filed suit against the city in October 2013 following a collision involving a fire truck in the city's South of Market neighborhood on June 29, 2013.

Frazier, who was on a motorcycle, suffered serious injuries in the crash that occurred around 11:30 p.m. at Fifth and Howard streets.

Police arrested firefighter Michael Quinn after the crash on suspicion of DUI and leaving the scene of a collision.

It was not until March 2014 that he was indicted by a grand jury on three felony counts of driving under the influence causing injury, driving with a blood-alcohol content of .08 or higher causing injury and driving a commercial motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol content of .04 percent or higher causing injury.

In March 2015, however, a judge ruled that blood-alcohol level tests administered after the collision were inadmissible as evidence. An appeal of that ruling filed by prosecutors has since been denied, but the criminal case against Quinn is still proceeding, according to district attorney's office spokesman Max Szabo.

Quinn took a breathalyzer test administered by the fire department at the scene, but that test was not considered admissible because the department's breathalyzer devices are not calibrated to police standards. Police did not administer a breathalyzer test of their own until some time after the collision.

Frazier's attorney has previously said that Quinn, who resigned from the San Francisco Fire Department after the collision, allegedly left the scene after the crash and was seen drinking water with colleagues at a pub nearby in an effort to sober up.

The San Francisco City Attorney's Office has proposed to settle the lawsuit for $4.99 million, with $10,000 to be paid personally by Quinn. The settlement must be approved by the Board of Supervisors before it is finalized.

Supervisor John Avalos said Tuesday that in light of the proposed settlement, he planned to call for a hearing in the board's Government Audit and Oversight Committee on what steps the fire department has taken to prevent on-duty drinking and ensure accountability for those who do.

Copyright BAYCN - Bay City News
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