Six Injured When Historic Muni Streetcars Collide with SUV

market_crash3.jpgCrash at Market and Noe. Photos: Nocturnal Perambulations

Two historic San Francisco streetcars on the outbound Market Street tracks collided with a Nissan SUV at Market and Noe streets in the Castro at 5:45 p.m. Monday. Six people were injured, including both people in the SUV, and the operator of the train that collided with it from behind.

The MTA later issued a statement saying both the streetcar operator and driver were treated and released from the hospital. Three people were treated on the scene and one refused treatment.

Hundreds of people at the scene watched as crews removed the trains and the squashed SUV. Service on the F-line was finally restored around 8:43 p.m.

Witnesses told KCBS radio that the operator of the F-Train that hit the SUV from behind may not have been looking forward when the crash happened.

"The driver was kind of talking to a passenger, kind of distracted, and several ways down the road, he kept on talking," said passenger Gene Cain, whose wrist was injured. "If he would have been paying more attention I don't think it would have happened."

"Any witness statements are part of the investigation," said MTA spokesperson Judson True. "We are continuing to talk to witnesses."

Supervisor Bevan Dufty was on the scene shortly after the crash and was visibly shaken. "I'm devastated by this accident. I think it seriously calls into question our credibility with the public." Dufty was already planning to hold a hearing next Monday on the recent Muni crash at West Portal Station, which injured 47 and totalled two light rail vehicles. This crash will also be central to the hearing.

MTA Chief Nat Ford issued a statement late Monday night calling the crash "intolerable" and "deeply frustrating."

"I know that the riding public is concerned about Muni safety, and so am I. Our ongoing work to improve Muni safety is clearly more urgent than ever."

The MTA also issued a press release identifying the operators:

The two Muni Operators were identified as Lonny Butler, who was operating the moving streetcar (Car No. 1893), and Leonard Peralta, who was operating the stationary streetcar (Car No. 1007). Butler began as a Muni Operator in 2002 (he joined the rail division in 2007) and Peralta was hired in 1995 (he joined the rail division in 1999). Per normal procedure, both Operators will be tested for drugs and alcohol and have been placed on non-driving status pending the results of the investigation.

More photos here. Updated 11:19 p.m.

dufty_small.jpgSupervisor Bevan Dufty on the scene.
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