Series of scares slows holiday transit

A man apparently suffering from psychological problems walked right into the Transbay Tube on Monday morning, capping off a weekend of scares and delays involving Bay Area transit.

The 53-year-old Albany man will not face charges after climbing onto the tracks at the Embarcadero BART station and walking into the tube that connects San Francisco with the East Bay, BART spokesman Linton Johnson said.

The man was taken to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation after authorities shut down all trains between San Francisco and the East Bay, delaying passengers for about one hour.

Johnson said the man was in the tube for about 45 minutes before being removed.

“There was no evidence of criminal intent,” he said.

Meanwhile, in a separate incident, a suspicious package was discovered aboard a BART train at the Glen Park station. Passengers were offloaded and the station was shut down from 9:30 p.m. Sunday to 1:30 a.m. Monday while the San Francisco police bomb squad investigated.

The package was determined to be a guitar tuner, police said.

BART, which was running extended service for holiday weekend crowds, ran shuttle buses between the 24th Street and Glen Park stations during the four-hour closure.

The transit trouble began Friday morning when two cable cars collided at the eastbound intersection of California and Drumm streets, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokeswoman Kristen Holland said.

While no riders were onboard, two operators in the front car were taken to the hospital, where they were treated for minor injuries and released.

Muni investigators say “human error” on the part of the conductor of the rear car was to blame for the crash. Holland said that as a result of the crash, Muni officials have banned the longstanding practice of conductors guiding trams to stop points in order to give gripmen breaks from driving.

While police investigated the incidents on BART and Muni, the California Highway Patrol was all over Bay Area roads. As of Monday afternoon, the CHP had arrested 17 suspected drunken drivers in San Francisco, and 58 in San Mateo County, CHP Officer Hugo Mendoza said.

tbarak@sfexaminer.com

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