Our coverage from last night here.
According to a statement released by Muni last night, more details are emerging about last night’s accident between two F Market streetcars and a car.
Here’s what we know: last night, at 5:46, “one F Market historic streetcar (Car No. 1893) struck an automobile” (reported to be a Nissan Pathfinder, you can see a picture of it post crash here) “which then collided with a stationary F Market streetcar (Car No. 1007) traveling in the same direction (outbound, or southwest).”
Also from the statement: “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).”
In the statement, SFMTA chief Nathaniel P. Ford says “This accident was 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.”
Of course, these remarks about safety resonate more than they might otherwise — after all, it’s only been about two weeks since the big Muni crash in West Portal.
The Chronicle quotes Supervisor Bevan Duty as saying “This accident was avoidable, Muni procedures require a minimum of one block spacing between street cars. I can’t imagine any excuse.” and The Examiner has him saying “This looks like a very avoidable accident. I mean, why are they even running so close together?”
(It should be noted that The Appeal hasn’t been able to confirm that the streetcars were violating any MTA policies by their proximity.)
Several accounts by witnesses indicate that Butler, the operator of the moving streetcar, was “distracted” and “speaking with a passenger” at the time of the crash. As with any Muni accident, both drivers are tested for drugs and alcohol and will not be driving during the investigation, which is being performed by the SFPD and the SFMTA.
According to the SFPD, of the six injured in the accident, the two who were hospitalized (Butler and the driver of the Nissan) have been released.