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S.F. police name city truck driver held in death of mother in park

September 06, 2013|By Los Angeles Times Staff

San Francisco police on Friday identified the city worker suspected of driving over and killing a woman as she sunbathed in a park with her baby and dog.

Thomas Burnoski -- a 57-year-old employee of the city's parks and recreation department -- was arrested and booked on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run, according to San Francisco police officer Albie Esparza.

He was arrested a short distance from the park after allegedly driving over the woman, identified as 35-year-old Christine Svanemyr. Her baby and dog were unharmed in the incident at Holly Park on Thursday shortly after 2 p.m. Svanemyr was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

In a statement to the San Jose Mercury News, Recreation and Parks spokeswoman Sarah Ballard said Burnoski has worked for the department since January 2006.

Residents in the neighborhood expressed shock and outrage after the fatal incident. Some parkgoers said they regularly see city trucks driving through the grass of the park at high speeds.

"They just drive through the park like a freeway," resident Wardy Joubert, 39, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "They have a pathway to drive on so I don't see why they go on the grass."

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