Public Works employee found at fault in fatal accident

A police investigation has concluded that a Public Works employee was at fault in a fatal accident that killed a 66-year-old pedestrian last spring.

The driver, a 55-year-old woman who had been driving Public Works pickup trucks for 10 years before the accident, is still employed with The City but a Public Works spokesperson would not comment on whether she remains on administrative leave, saying it is a personnel matter.

The accident occurred at 8:15 a.m. on Friday, April 11 when 66-year-old Florencia Tiongco, a housekeeper at Hotel Whitcomb on Market Street, was crossing Bayshore Blvd. at its busy intersection with Bacon Street. Both Tiongco and the DPW worker had a green light, according to police, and the DPW truck struck Tiongco. Paramedics who responded pronounced Tiongco dead at the scene.

The DPW employee, who had just dropped off street-sweeping equipment to a crew, was taken to San Francisco General Hospital for routine drug and alcohol testing and placed on administrative leave, said a DPW spokeswoman Christine Falvey at the time.

Falvey said police had finished their investigation of the incident and concluded that the DPW driver was at fault, but would not comment further because she said a lawsuit is pending.

Such accidents are extremely rare, said Falvey. In the last 20 years, Public Works employees and vehicles have been involved in two other pedestrian fatalities, though the department has 700 vehicles on city streets, she said.

City Attorney spokesman Matt Dorsey said six separate claims were filed by Tiongco's family members – all represented by attorney John J. Hughes.  The city has rejected the claims he said, adding that the department has not been served with a lawsuit.

Hughes did not return a call for comment Tuesday afternoon. SFPD spokesman Sgt. Wilfred Williams said it is against police policy to comment on investigations relating to fatal accidents.

kworth@sfexaminer.com

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