Questions Remain About Motorcycle Crash Involving San Francisco Firefighter

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A San Francisco Fire Department fire engine. (CBS)

A San Francisco Fire Department fire engine. (CBS)

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Tim Ryan graduated from CSU Chico with a Journalism degree and work...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Questions remain about an incident involving a San Francisco firefighter, who collided with a motorcyclist while going out on a call last week.

43-year-old Michael Quinn was driving the fire truck on the night of June 29 when he collided with the motorcycle near 5th and Howard streets. The motorcyclist suffered serious injuries, but is expected to survive.

But that was just the beginning of his troubles. San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said Quinn, realizing he faced an immediate mandatory alcohol test, disappeared from the scene for 90 minutes.

“He went missing from the scene and at that point, it became a police matter,” she said.

KCBS has reached out to Quinn through the firefighters union, but he has yet to respond. Sources tell KCBS he claims he was so traumatized by the accident that responded by going for some cocktails, before returning to the firehouse.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Quinn’s blood-alcohol level was 0.13 percent, well above the legal limit and he was arrested on suspicion of DUI and leaving the scene of a collision.

Prosecutors said this week that for now, no charges will be filed against Quinn, pending further investigation.

Hayes-White, who was hired by then San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2004, was ordered to end on-duty alcohol abuse in the department.

“We’re supposed to go out and help people. This puts a stain on the entire department,” said Hayes-White. “I’m a compassionate person, but I’m also a rule follower. And there’s no room for impairment while on the job.”

For her part, Hayes-White said despite the incident, her alcohol crackdown policy is working, with random testing resulting in hundreds, if not a thousand or more negative results.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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