S.F. park employee accused in manslaughter case given driving restrictions

A San Francisco parks employee accused of running over and killing a woman in a Bernal Heights park and then fleeing the scene had restrictions placed on his driving privileges today after he posted bail and was released from jail last week.

Thomas Burnoski, 58, is charged with felony vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run for the death of 35-year-old Christine Svanemyr, who was struck by Burnoski's Recreation and Parks Department truck as she lay in the grass at Holly Park on the afternoon of Sept. 5.

He pleaded not guilty last Wednesday and posted $100,000 bail later that day, defense attorney Robert Waggener said.

Burnoski returned to court for a status hearing this morning and was ordered by Judge Monica Wiley, under an agreement with the district attorney's office, to only drive for employment, child care or counseling purposes.

Waggener said the driving restrictions “won't be of any real impact to him.”

He said Burnoski has been suspended without pay from the Recreation and Parks Department and is seeking other sources of income while the case is pending.

“He's still got to put food on the table for his kids,” Waggener said.

Burnoski's 19-year-old son Jonathan was arrested for an alleged hit-and-run incident in San Francisco following his father's arraignment on Wednesday.

Earlier this year, Burnoski lost a daughter, Tiffany, who was killed in a traffic accident in April while driving to San Francisco from school at California State University, Fullerton.

“It's been pretty horrific, the whole series of tragedies that have occurred,” Waggener said.

Burnoski will return to court for another status hearing on Dec. 17.

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