Family of Woman Killed At Holly Park By Rec And Park Worker Could Receive $15.1 Million Settlement

A proposed $15.1 million settlement to the husband and young daughter of a woman killed at San Francisco’s Holly Park last September was approved by the city’s Recreation and Park Commission last week.

The commission approved the $15,130,000 settlement of the claim filed in November 2013 by Vegar and Isa Svanemyr, the husband and toddler of 35-year-old Christine Svanemyr.

Christine Svanemyr was struck and killed on the afternoon of Sept. 5 by a Recreation and Park Department truck driven by Thomas Burnoski, 58.

He has been charged with felony vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run and is out of custody with strict driving restrictions.

He is no longer employed by the park department.

Christine Svanemyr had been lying on the grass with her daughter and family dog when Burnoski went off the path with his truck and struck her.

The claim alleges that he initially fled the scene and did not help or call for assistance.

Matt Dorsey, a spokesman with the City Attorney’s Office, called the incident “a heart-breaking tragedy.”

He said with the proposed settlement anticipated to go before the full Board of Supervisors as soon as September there will likely not be a lawsuit filed.

“Obviously, no settlement can replace a human life,” Dorsey said. “But we’ve reached an agreement that’s fair, and that avoids the added costs and heartache of a lawsuit. Hopefully, it also offers a measure of justice and closure to the victim’s family.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the settlement will be paid over three years.

In the wake of Christine Svanemyr’s death, the Rec and Park Department modified its driving policies and issued a department-wide memo outlining those changes last fall.

Some of those policies included implementation of a 5 mph speed limit within parks, an increase in use of headlights and other lighting on vehicles, and a reminder to use spotters with vehicles, or if driving solo, plotting out the intended path of travel and advising park patrons.

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

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