12:11 PM: Two San Francisco Municipal Railway employees have been placed on administrative leave after allowing an unoccupied Muni bus to drift down Van Ness Avenue and crash into a light pole this morning, an agency spokesman said.
The bus crash was reported at 8:38 a.m. at Van Ness Avenue and O’Farrell Street, Muni spokesman Paul Rose said.
There had been complaints of mechanical issues with the bus earlier that morning, and it was stopped near the intersection. A mechanic had responded to work on the bus, Rose said.
While the bus operator and mechanic were working on the bus, it began rolling downhill and struck a light pole on the side of the road, he said.
Carol, an employee at a nearby Bentley auto dealership who did not want to give her last name, said she was told the parking brake on the bus was not put in place.
Rose said Muni officials are “currently looking at that to determine what took place” this morning.
“There are strict policies in place to prevent this type of thing from happening, and it appears none of these policies were followed,” he said.
The Muni operator and mechanic will be tested for alcohol and drugs and have been placed on administrative leave. The operator has been placed on nondriving status, Rose said.
The front of the bus was damaged in the crash, which blocked northbound traffic on Van Ness for more than an hour this morning.
Bus service was rerouted around the area until the bus was removed and all lanes reopened shortly before 10 a.m., he said.
Muni spokesman Paul Rose confirmed that a bus crashed at Van Ness Avenue and O’Farrell Street sometime before 9 a.m., but did not immediately have further information about the crash.
Witnesses at nearby businesses reported that a bus crashed into a light post at the intersection and was blocking northbound traffic on Van Ness Avenue.
Carol, an employee at a nearby Bentley auto dealership who did not want to give her last name, said she was told the bus was being repaired near Van Ness Avenue and Geary Street but that the parking brake was not in place, and the vehicle drifted downhill toward O’Farrell Street.
The bus was empty at the time, and no one appears to have been injured in the crash, she said.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News