UPDATED: Mother Killed by City-Owned Truck in Holly Park Hit-and-Run Identified; Driver Arrested

Hollyhitrun.nbc

Hollypk.accidentsite2

An unimaginable tragedy has transpired in Holly Park.

This is what we know: [UPDATED] During a warm and sunny afternoon on Thursday Sept 5, 2013 in Bernal Heights, Christine Svanemyr, 35, her infant daughter Isa, and her dog Ponyo were relaxing under a tree on the south side of Holly Park. Shortly after 2 pm, a green Ford pickup operated by the San Francisco Department of Parks and Recreation and driven by Rec and Park employee Thomas Burnoski, 57, ran over Svanemyr as she lay on the grass. Burnoski fled the scene of the incident, and despite valiant efforts by first-responders, the gravely injured mom later died at SF General. Her infant and dog were unharmed. Police quickly located Burnoski near St. Mary’s Park, and took him into custody. A Rec and Park employee since 2006,  Burnoski has been charged with vehicular manslaughter and felony hit and run, and remains in jail with bail set at $315,000.

Reporters Nanette Asimov and Vivian Ho from SFGate describe what happened:

The 35-year-old woman was lying with her baby and a dog in the grass at Holly Park when the driver struck her at about 2:20 p.m., said police spokesman Officer Tracy Turner.

The woman was taken to a hospital, where she died. The baby girl was not injured and is now in the custody of her father. The dog is with Animal Care and Control.

The driver left the park after running over the woman, but was detained by police several blocks away, Turner said. He was taken to Ingleside Station for questioning, and police plan to book him on suspicion of felony hit and run.

His name was not released because he has not been officially arrested.

The driver has been an employee of the Recreation and Park Department since 2009, parks spokeswoman Sarah Ballard said. Neighbors said there is a gardener known for driving recklessly on both the grass and paved pathways.

Neighbors report that streets around Holly Park were closed by the SFPD after the accident, with multiple TV news vehicles onsite.

KCBS says this was the Park & Rec vehicle involved in the incident:

hollypk.vehicle

ABC7 News details how and where the driver was located:

A witness tells ABC7 News that the truck was driving across the grass, which was very busy at the time, and then ran over the woman who was sunbathing with her child and dog nearby.

The woman was transported to San Francisco General Hospital with life-threatening injuries where she later died. The child and dog were not hurt.

The driver of a green parks department vehicle took off after the incident but was later found and detained by police at Crescent and Agnon avenues.

Neighbors say that parks vehicles are always here and it’s a big problem with people driving on the grass.

KTVU carried aerial footage of the scene, which clearly showed both the vehicle tire tracks and the white blanket where the victim had been sitting:

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The San Francisco Examiner has a view of the same scene from street level:

HollyPark.Tracks

Horrific.

Bernalwood will provide updates as additional details become available. We will also provide guidance about memorial and neighborhood assistance efforts as soon as possible. In the meantime, please keep the victim and her family in your thoughts.

UPDATE Sept 6, 9:30am: The San Francisco Appeal has an update on the victim’s identity. She was Christine Svanemyr, 35, from Daly City.

A woman who was fatally struck by a San Francisco Recreation and Park maintenance truck at a park in the city’s Bernal Heights neighborhood on Thursday has been identified by the medical examiner’s office as 35-year-old Christine Svanemyr.

Svanemyr, a Daly City resident, was struck by the Rec and Park vehicle shortly after 2:20 p.m. in a grassy area on the south end of Holly Park.

She was taken to San Francisco General Hospital where she was pronounced dead, police said.

Bernalwood has located a biography for Christy Svanemyr, Director of Development for New Ventures West:

Christysvanemyr

UDPATE: 10:55am The driver of the Park & Rec pickup has been identified as Thomas Burnoski, 46. He has been arrested and charged. From SFWeekly:

Police say it was 46-year-old Thomas Burnoski was driving the city truck when he ran over Christine Svanemyr, killing her. He was arrested and booked into San Francisco County Jail on charges of vehicular manslaughter and felony hit and run.

Added tragedy: It appears that Mr. Burnoski’s daughter died in April 2013 at age 20. The SF Chronicle wrote about the car accident that took Tiffany Burnoski’s life at the time.

UPDATE Sept 7 8:50 am: The SFPD released this photo of Mr. Burnoski after his arrest.

burnoski

In today’s front-page story, the SFChronicle brings details of the Rec and Park Department’s policy on staff driving in public parks:

Sarah Ballard, a spokeswoman for the Recreation and Park Department, said she couldn’t comment on an open investigation, but said the department’s vehicle policy is that workers are never allowed to drive on park pathways, sidewalks, closed roads or the actual park area “merely for convenience purposes.”

“If work requirements necessitate operating a city vehicle on a park-scape or other surface not designed for vehicle operation, utilize a staff person outside the vehicle to serve as a safety watch or otherwise guide vehicle movement,” the policy reads.

No spotter was in place, according to police reports, and the site of the collision was well off any roadway.

“It was definitely on the grassy areas. It didn’t have a sidewalk near it or a pathway,” said police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza. Svanemyr was on the southeast end of the park when she was hit.

Ballard said employees who operate Rec and Park’s 707 vehicles, which include mowers, cars and trucks, must complete training every two years. The department’s vehicles include 312 road vehicles that travel more than 1 million miles a year.

The Chronicle also reports that of the four official complaints filed with Rec and Park by citizens over the past two years about poor driving by employees, two were filed about Rec and Park driving in Holly Park.

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UPDATE: 2:15pm, Sept 6: D9 Supervisor David Campos just released a statement about the death of Christine Svanemyr:

 “I was shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the killing of Christine Svanemyr yesterday in Holly Park. I, like the rest of the City, am dismayed and upset that a new mother was taken from her family in such a senseless way.

I have been in conversations with the General Manager of Rec and Parks and law enforcement for answers as to how this horrific event could have happened in a place where families and children expect to be safe and protected. I assure you that my office will do everything we can to get to the bottom of what happened and to ensure that there is accountability and transparency about this tragedy.

Any residents who may have witnessed the tragedy or who have surveillance video of the area should contact the Ingleside Police Station to help further the investigation.

UPDATE: 11:50 pm Sept 5: Via NBC Bay Area, we learn that Park & Rec General Manager Phil Ginsburg issued a statement Thursday night:

“On behalf of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family and friends of the victim of a tragic accident that occurred at Holly Park this afternoon. This is a devastating day for all. The Recreation and Park Department is cooperating fully with the San Francisco Police Department as they investigate this accident.”

NBC Bay Area also reports that Bernal neighbor have already started leaving flowers on the patch of grass where the mother had been sitting.

Friday, 6 September 7:30 am: Neighbor Sarah sends this photo of the scene at Holly Park this morning. It’s a preview of what will follow in the days ahead; sad memorials and intense media scrutiny:

hollypkdayafter

IMAGES: Top, screengrab via NBCBayArea. Map via GoogleEarth. Pickup truck via KCBS; Aerial of scene via KTVU; Street-level view by SF Examiner; Flowers, Neighbor Sarah.

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91 Responses to UPDATED: Mother Killed by City-Owned Truck in Holly Park Hit-and-Run Identified; Driver Arrested

  1. Our prayers are with you baby girl and family.

  2. Lupe says:

    This is really horrible. And the aerial shot is shocking…the LAST place you’d expect a vehicle to be! My thoughts and prayers will be with this poor woman’s family.

    • bldxyz says:

      My thoughts exactly. When would you ever think that lying on the grass in a public park would put you at risk that someone in a truck would run over you? On. The. Grass.

  3. Sara says:

    My heart goes out to the family. Please let us know if there is anything we can do!

  4. Bronwyn Ximm says:

    Unspeakably awful. I keep thinking about the father and all the support he needs and is going to keep needing. I can’t imagine being in his shoes — shock, grief, and on top of it all, suddenly solo parenting. I also wonder how old the baby is and if she needs breast milk.

    • Smurf says:

      Bronwyn- Pop over to the Bernal Parents list and there is info on donating breastmilk to the baby. So tragic!

      • Jodie says:

        I have not been able to find info about donating breastmilk. Do you have a link or more information? Thanks in advance for your time!

  5. On Manchester says:

    Someone is hit crossing the street. A child is run over at a busy intersection. A bicyclist is crushed under a turning truck. I have come to expect these everyday horrors. A mother relaxing with her baby and dog in our neighborhood park – on a blanket, on the grass, under a tree, on a sunny day. I can barely stand it. Thank you for covering this abhorrence. I refuse to stand for it and all my thoughts are with the father and his child. Help us find a way to help.

  6. MOULTRIEWANTSOUT says:

    so sad, so many questions yet to answered as of now. RIP, perhaps there could be some sort of fundraiser within the area?? premature, but if one area can organize its the bernal folks….

  7. Lolly parks says:

    I know who the driver is he is a amazing man I hope he does not get arrested his daughter just recently died so he has been devastated. I am also very sad about the baby losing her mother it’s a sad story

    • Gabby says:

      You think a man who ran over and killed a woman sunbathing shouldn’t be arrested? What is wrong with you? Do you have any understanding of accountability? This man not only ran her over but on top of that he fled the scene. All sympathies go to this woman’s family, not the scumbag who left her dying in a park.

    • bldxyz says:

      It is one thing to make some sort of mistake (running over someone when driving in a place no one would expect you to drive), and another thing entirely to flee the scene.

      There are reasons why there are rules of the road: so people know what to expect. You can expect that walking in a crosswalk with a Stop Sign facing the road is going to result in the cars coming to a stop at the intersection. You can expect that a person who uses their turn indicator is going to turn. You can expect that a green light means that cars from the other direction are not going to enter an intersection.

      One cannot expect a truck to drive over them on a grassy hill. A person who can do that and end up killing someone has some serious explaining to do, so I do think that an arrest would be in order. Ask for a fair investigation and a fair trial (assuming that happens), but do not out of empathy for a “amazing man” suggest that he is blameless for doing something so out of the realm of expectation that results in another person’s death.

    • BlackSharpiePen says:

      I read about the driver’s daughter’s tragic death. I wonder if this man has been heavily medicated since then? Drinking heavily since then? Both? NOT excuses, but perhaps some sort of explanation for his recklessness and behavior after the fact? I don’t know, I am just asking. I can’t imagine what either of these families are going through — the driver’s wife loses a daughter and husband in 6 months time, and of course this incredibly tragic story. Ugh. No winning for anyone, I’m afraid.

    • Noemonkey says:

      So tell us all how this “amazing man” would do this and then flee the scene of the horrible accident. I hope he is charged with vehicular manslaughter and gets some serious jail time.

  8. Lolly parks says:

    I know who the driver is he is a amazing man I hope he does not get arrested his daughter just recently died so he has been devastated. I am also very sad about the baby losing her mother everyone must be terribly devastated my god I’m praying

    • Gwsg941333 says:

      What is AMAZING is…
      It is AMAZING that he was routinely witnessed driving recklessly off road t a neighborhood, perhaps feeling exempt from ruled being in a city vehicle… It is AMAZING that he look to/see a woman, a child and a dog on a WHITE blanket on a sunny afternoon, IT is AMAZING that he also did not feel running over the woman or did and chose to keep on going as of she were nothing more than an empty cardboard box… In that sense he has indeed amazed me….

    • kb says:

      Amazingly reckless with a complete lack of regard or care for those around him. Apparently.

  9. throgers says:

    Phil Ginsberg is right that this is “tragic”, but was it an “accident”? That term implies there was nothing preventable about this. It may sound pedantic, but our officials shouldn’t make it sound like they’ve already determined the driver wasn’t at fault.

    • g2-ca78978727d33fb007720b354c8eae9d says:

      It was an accident because the park worker presumably did not.intend to kill the woman. It was certainly a preventable accident but it was still an accident.

      • Gwsg941333 says:

        Is it an accident? It is normal to expect one to sunbathe in the afternoon on a nice day (particularly in the city) at a park, its not normal to expect a city truck to be off-roading at a park…

      • Richard says:

        The worker may not have intended to kill her, but the worker did intend to drive in an off-road area where people could reasonably be expected to be lying on the grass. The worker also intended to flee the scene and not (apparently) give aid to the victim. That’s enough reckless intent, in my view, to prevent us from using the word “accident.”

      • throgers says:

        In general, intent can potentially be legally relevant (charging something as voluntary manslaughter vs. involuntary manslaughter, for example), but my point was more about rhetoric- if people use terms like “accident” in cases like this, it can create an impression that nothing could have been done to prevent it. Walk San Francisco, which I highly recommend being a member of (http://walksf.org/), has helped relay that how we describe things can, over time, affect our response.

      • printtemps says:

        Not pedandtic, when you wantonly operate a motor vehicle without regard for the safety of others you comitting an act of violence. This is not an accident, this is motor vehicle violence.

      • Patrick says:

        It was an accident because it was in all probability not deliberate. The park worker did not run over the woman in order to kill her. It was a preventable accident, and perhaps the park worker was grossly negligent and could be found guilty of a vehicular homicide in addition to hit-and-run, but it’s still an accident. And if you object to the use of the word “accident” to describe such an incident, what would you call it?.

    • printtemps says:

      I’ve said what I would call it: violence, driving with disregard for the safety of others shows intention to harm, this is no accident.

      • lance says:

        I initially wanted to strangle the man and watch his eyes bulge. Then I heard of his daughter. And I feel sorry for him as well. Yes he was grossly negligent. He will suffer now for the the rest of his life — killing another family and inflicting the same pane inflicted upon him. Both the driver and the family need love and compassion. I don’t expect anyone to forgive the driver for what he did, but I no longer wish to see him suffer more than he will.

  10. Donna says:

    Tragic. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and especially the little 8 month old girl who will grow up without any memories of her mom.

  11. Jean says:

    We have witnessed the drivers going to fast ourselves, had to pull my dog out of the way and they made us feel like we were wrong…my heart is breaking, yes let’s please do what we did for the Ingleside officers and raise some funds to help the family remaining..anyone know if he got his dog back?

  12. Regina says:

    The city of San Francisco, from politicians and police to residents and driving companies, needs to stop calling vehicular homicide an “accident.” I am more than happy to start a fund for the father, who will need money to cover a funeral and legal fees. Can someone point me in the direction of the man’s attorney? I want to make sure funds are setup properly before I start.

  13. GOD DAMNIT! This is HOMICIDE aggravated by the hit-and-run, and better damn well be prosecuted as such. The word “accident” implicitly lets the driver off the hook, and should be banished. This was wildly negligent driving and the terms used need to reflect that. This poor little girl will now grow up without a mother, and it is incumbent upon us to treat this tragedy with that level of seriousness.

    Campos, how about some leadership on this? We are looking to you to put some real pressure on the DA to put people like this driver in prison for many, many years. There he and Amelie Le Moullac’s killer can reflect on the devastation they have wrought for decades to come.

    Small comfort to the families, but no less necessary.

    Killing people with a car is just as much homicide as killing them with a gun. No more get-out-of-jail-free cards for these murderers!

    • Lupe says:

      Murder is murder, regardless of the means or method used – be it gun, knife, car, bike or whatever. He has been charged accordingly. If he is found responsible, he will no doubt languish in prison. We do know, however, that it is often “extenuating circumstances” that come into play during trial that make a tremendous difference in the outcome (mechanical failure, medical issue, weather conditions, etc). If they cannot be disproven, well…the outcome may not be what most of us seem to want at the moment. I am totally on board with donating and/or raising funds for this family. It will not bring the mother back, but perhaps will help as the husband and child make a huge transition without her.

    • Patrick says:

      No, accident doesn’t let the driver off the hook. It means that the driver did not intentionally kill the woman.

      • Steve Sisler says:

        Only the driver knows if this was an accident. No one else can know his mindset, whether he was affected by emotion, substances or it’s simple negligence. Regardless, it remains a homicide, either intentional or unintentional.

  14. InBernal says:

    Although we do know the driver and he may be a great person, I don’t see a reason why we should hope that he isn’t punished for what he has done. We’ve all been witnesses to his driving and probably have been in a situation where we have been endangered by the driver. Frankly, I am not surprised that this did’t happen sooner. How is it okay to take the truck off road onto the grassy area on a beautiful day at holly park? Being there for so many year how did he not expect someone to be sunbathing or relaxing on the grass?

    I see no reason why we should take any of this lightly and let the driver off the hook? Why would we do that? So he can return to the park and endanger more people? We all know he has been a hazard for a while and I know I myself have been in his way once or twice. With small children and dogs running around the park we might want to consider their safety and do something about this.

    & I agree that we should organize some sort of a fund raiser for the husband to help him pay for the funeral and any other legal fees!

    • Smurf says:

      Especially nuts that the trucks are driving in the most popular sunning slope of the park! When I first heard about this, I was sure she must have been tucked in amongst the trees between where Bocana and Elsie intersect or something… not right there where everybody goes to picnic/sun! I’ve said for a while that there is no reason for anything bigger than a Cushman to ever be up in that park, and even then only on the roads and ideally before mid-day.

  15. Joyce says:

    The names of the victim and the driver have been released, and he has been charged with vehicular manslaughter and felony hit/run:

    http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2013/09/christine_svanemyr_identified.php

  16. Linda says:

    This story breaks my heart. Please let us know if we as a community can do anything to help this family.

    As for the driver, these reports are infuriating especially because there can never really be justice, because what could possibly right this wrong? Not a damn thing.

  17. Vegar says:

    I’m the dad. Our daughter is safe and unharmed and SFPD kindly brought home our dog that same night. We have lots of support from family and friends, but I wanted to reach out to appreciate the Bernal Heights community. Thank you.

  18. LM says:

    Is there perhaps a local business that might open their doors to do a community fundraiser to help the family with the cost of services and/or a fund for her daughters education or something else?

  19. LM says:

    One more comment, for perhaps a friend or relative of the family…. Awhile back a close friend of mine passed away hours after giving birth to her daughter. At her services, the priest asked everyone in attendance to write a letter to my friends daughter – sharing a favorite story or moment that they had with my friend, that the daughter might love to know later in life. One person (a cousin) was in charge of compiling all of the letters (and pictures in some cases) and turning them into a book/binder. The forwarding address was in the funeral program and on a blog the family had created. The letters became a piece of history celebrating her life and sharing snapshots that her daughter might otherwise never know. I know it was a lot of work, but I am sure it will be treasured by my friends daughter forever. I wonder if this family might want something like that for their daughter.

  20. Bernalese, man says:

    I’m a frequent Holly Park dog walker, and I have never seen a Rec and Park (who’s the idiot that reversed those words for the city department?) employee take that route.

    • Smurf says:

      I have never seen them on that side, either. I see them muscling up the incline from the street on the Appleton side all the time, and spend most of their time on that side of the slope- why I’m all the more shocked it happened on that side!

  21. Blue Mudbhary says:

    I really think the Rec and Park Director should be fired. Where has the oversight been? A known problem of driving on the grass and now this senseless and tragic death. Where are the character screenings of their employees — hit and run means he didn’t even stop to administer aid to this woman — and what kind of gardener would drive on grass that you are supposed to be helping to grow? Please tell me how and where to start a petition and who I should be emailing about this. Simply horrifying and so sorry to the family for this terrible, terrible loss.

  22. jd says:

    I’m so sorry this happened. Deepest sympathies to the family. This should never have to happen.

    In the meantime, not only does the driver of this truck deserve severe punishment, but we have got to get cars out of our parks, especially driving on anything but roads. Sure, sometimes they actually need a truck to carry equipment, but most of the time they do not. It’s amazing what bicycles (trikes) can carry, and I guarantee you that most Parks & Recs employees could use a little exercise. Our car culture is out of control.

  23. Smurf says:

    To add another head-scratcher here– It would appear groups of kids from J Serra were sent into the park today without being told what happened. I was approached by two kids (7ish? 8ish? I’m a new mom and bad at judging kids’ ages) picking flowers in the baby play area asking why there were news vans parked on the street. I asked if they had teachers around so that we could direct the question there, but it didn’t seem like they did. Regardless, I directed them to a teacher or parent to answer the question. Who’s the genius who decided that was an appropriate move?

  24. towhead says:

    I walk my dog and son there every morning I have seen them drive down that slope a couple of times as a shortcut to get to the street. When there are no cars parked there (usually after street cleaning) I can see how its an appealing shortcut.

    The slope is fairly steep, so I can see how he might not have seen them on the grass over his oversized truck hood. If he took that kind of shortcut regularly I could understand how he would get used to it and stop paying close attention. He’s probably been doing that sort of thing for years and anyone can get used to taking these seemingly small risks. Hopefully this will serve as a reminder to anyone that drives through parks how extremely dangerous it is.

    I’m angry and upset too, but I think its a good time for us to think about the sort of shortcuts we take in our daily lives that put ourselves and others at risk. Rolling stops through stop signs, turning right without looking for bicycles passing on the right, tailgating, driving fast through parking lots or school zones, driving while angry, driving while tired, driving on medication.

    Lets all try to learn something from this and do our best to be careful out there.

    • Mom on a bike says:

      Amen. Even better, try to stop driving.

    • Tony says:

      Please tell me that ‘driving on medication’ isn’t a euphemism for driving while stoned? Because no matter what bulls–t rationalization for recreational drug taking one wants to use (it’s my ‘medicine’) – it is not on a par with driving while angry. It would be a DUI.

    • Lupe says:

      Not always possible for all to stop driving, Mom on a bike. The bigger, more important message towheaded has for every single one of us is to be mindful of our actions, in all that we do.

    • Notice how all of your examples have to do with a car. Our car culture IS out of control, and we don’t for the most part notice because it’s all we know; we grew up with it. Spend a week or more backpacking and see how alien they look when you come back. Cars are evil…

    • her moma says:

      Thank You, This is True and the cause of many ….

  25. kate says:

    Mr. Vegar, you and your Family have my Deepest Condolences…Godspeed.

  26. This is devastating. I met her and her sweet daughter earlier that day at swim class. Absolutely heartbreaking. Prayers for the family, especially Isa, who will grow up without knowing her mother. :(

  27. Sam says:

    There was the implication from the media that speeding was a previous problem. Park & Rec have a lot to answer for if there was a complaint on record. All the families I’ve talked to are heartbroken for this family. It is not hard to put ourselves in their position. The early descriptions could have been anyone of us.

  28. Dan says:

    Neighbor Dan

    I’ve been turning this unspeakably sad event around in my head ever since I read about it on Friday afternoon. I keep looking for a way to make sense of it, to find some semblance of logic or reason in it. And I just can’t. The first thing I thought about when I woke up this morning was this poor woman, her widowed husband and motherless baby girl. I was and am still close to tears for these people I’ve never met. How is it that someone enjoying what was probably one of those special moments in life — being under a tree on a warm and sunny San Francisco day with her infant daughter and her dog — could in an instant meet such a horrible end? I’m mad and sad that we live in a world where things like this happen.

    Vegar, if there’s anything I and other neighbors can do — walk your dog, mow your law, trim your trees, bring you food, donate to a fund, something else — please let us know. You’ve suffered a horrible loss that no one should experience. My thoughts and profound sympathy are with you.

    • Gwsg941333 says:

      I saw a press release of Vegar thanking the bernal heights community, after seeing a few of the comments from the community members above, I can see why. You guys are a wonderful example of community.

  29. Alyssa Bray says:

    Donate to support Christy’s family as they transition to a life without her.

    For those of you moved to support Christy’s family, you can contribute here to help ensure that Vegar and Isa will be financially secure through these next few months. Vegar will be giving any leftover funds to a children’s charity, in memory of Christy.

    Every donation is deeply appreciated.

    http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/christy-svanemyr-family-fund

  30. Shelly says:

    I and my friend came to Holly Park today to pay our respects and love to our dear friend Christy. While we were there, we met many beautiful, generous members of your community and had many incredible interactions with you. Such love, concern, and care-full tending of the spot where she died and of her memory. Among other things, there is now an indiegogo campaign set up to donate money to her husband and daughter: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/christy-svanemyr-family-fund Thank you, thank you for your care.

  31. david leong says:

    Park service employees are exempt from driving on roads. They can drive on the grass anytime they like anywhere they want to anytime as long as it is in the parks or next to parks. They can park on the sidewalk and block the streets and entrances anytime they want to anywhere in the park. I have seen them with their trucks and employees riding through the Golden Gate Park grass most every time I was there. They are not the garbage trucks either. They are just trucks that carry a lot of park employees to wherever they needed to go to although roads are just a few yards away from where they are traveling. City employees are exempt from rules that regular citizens must adhered to in the city. They get higher pay than most other citizens and yet does less work than regular people. That is why the City will be in very bad shape in the future. Just think about the BART situation happening right now. I feel for the lady that was killed and her family. It is a great loss to everyone to know that she is no longer with us. The driver should not be driving on the grass at all and should not have driven so fast. It is homicide reckless driving when he fled the scene of the killing. He should be prosecuted in a court of law. Just think Mr. Ginsberg, If you go out to the park tomorrow morning, you will see your park employees doing the same thing rolling their trucks across the grass. It will be business as usual. The property owners will still be paying you and thier salaries.

    • has says:

      It is entirely inappropriate to use this tragedy to make baseless attacks on all city employees. Stereotyping is wrong. In any large group, there will be good and bad apples. Like in any large employer, some employees work extremely hard and some don’t. Some are well paid and some aren’t. This city employee was arrested for this death and for leaving the scene, demonstrating that he is subject to the same laws as everyone else.

      What happened here is the result of an individual’s action and is his responsibility. This community is responding with care to the family and with outrage to the city to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Randomly spewing attacks against people who had nothing to do with this helps neither the family nor the city.

      • Patrick says:

        There is an old Sicilian saying that a fish rots from the head. The individual is responsible, true; but the organization is responsible for seeing that all of its employees act in a responsible manner, which obviously wasn’t done at Park & Rec, based on the number of commenters who have also been startled by Park & Rec employees whizzing around on their city-owned vehicles.

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  33. Patrick says:

    The SJ Merc News and the SF Appeal are reporting Burnoski’s age as 57, not 46.

  34. DM says:

    I walk through Holly Park nearly every morning. My husband and I are still trying to understand this tragedy. Thank you, Bernalwood for thoughtful reporting. Our thoughts/support/hearts go out the the family. Our entire community mourns this loss. – Daniele

  35. Pingback: Fund Collects Donations for Holly Park Victim Christy Svanemyr’s Family | Bernalwood

  36. Tessa says:

    I just read through the comments, and appreciate all the care shown, and especially suggestions for being more mindful in our lives. But I have to ask: Several people mentioned not just park employees in general driving on the grass, but specifically being aware of this particular driver as a danger. Media reports say of the (only) 4 driving complaints received in some number of years, two were about this park. So – how many people didn’t bother to report this known danger? Or are the statistics wrong about only 2 reports? Making reports of dangerous behavior, especially by public employees, and following through on them might be a good idea, in addition to mindfulness in general. And many thanks to Bernalwood for providing this space for everyone’s comments and grief.

  37. Pingback: How to Make Holly Park Safe Again | Bernalwood

  38. Julie says:

    I have been terribly sad since this happened last week and will forever think of christy and her family. This senseless incident has robbed Christy and her entire family of their lives. We are apparently not safe anywhere;even in a park for Christ sake and I only hope that as time goes on Christy’s family can move forward and have some peace. Love to the Svanemyr family. Forever in my thoughts.

  39. Pingback: We Used to Expect Streets to Be as Safe as Holly Park | Streetsblog San Francisco

  40. Pingback: As Investigation Continues, City Worker Says Did Not Realize He’d Hit a Person in Holly Park | Bernalwood

  41. Pingback: Thursday: Vigil for Christy Svanemyr, Victim in Holly Park Death | Bernalwood

  42. Pingback: Weeks After Tragedy, Rec and Park Vehicles Still Drive in Holly Park Without Required Spotters | Bernalwood

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  45. Pingback: UPDATED: Felony Charges Filed Against City Worker In Holly Park Tragedy; Driver Allegedly Made Two Attempts to Flee Scene | Bernalwood

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