Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP
Gardener strikes woman in tragic park crash

A sunny day at the park could turn into tragedy for even the most unlikely victims. One California woman is dead and a man is potentially facing charges after a tragic accident in a San Francisco park. The woman is just one of many victims of vehicle-related fatal accidents this year, though this particular crash was admittedly one of the most unusual.

A 57-year-old man struck the 35-year-old victim as she lay in the park with her baby. He was driving a city truck at the time of the Sept. 5 crash, which happened when the vehicle operator swerved onto the grass to avoid striking an object in the road. The gardener first gave an indication that he thought he had hit something during his daily shift meeting that evening, when the driver admitted to his supervisor that he may have struck an object or animal in Holly Park. As the driver and his boss were returning to the scene of the accident, they were stopped by officers, who eventually took the driver into custody for his alleged crimes. He was arrested on suspicion of hit-and-run, but formal charges have not yet been filed.

The man’s story does not seem to align with the facts in the case. The woman, who was playing on the grass with her toddler and dog, was lying a significant distance from the pavement road. It seems unlikely, according to investigators, that the man simply swerved onto the grass; rather, it appears that he broke city policy by driving on a pedestrian path without a spotter. Further, tire tracks at the scene show that the man proceeded across the grass rather than returning to the path on which he had been driving.

In this case, both the city and the driver could be liable for the woman’s death because of their negligence. The man seems to have broken several city rules, while his co-workers and supervisors were not apprised of the situation until it was too late. Families of such victims can seek financial redress through civil suits.

Source:, “SF gardener says he didn’t know he’d hit person” Vivian Ho, Sep. 14, 2013

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