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Gardener Faces Manslaughter Charge For Running Over, Killing SF Park Visitor

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Thomas Burnoski, a San Francisco City Employee, is accused of hit-and-run in the death of Christine Svanemyr at Holly Park on September 5, 2013. (San Francisco Police Department)

Thomas Burnoski, a San Francisco City Employee, is accused of hit-and-run in the death of Christine Svanemyr at Holly Park on September 5, 2013. (San Francisco Police Department)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A San Francisco parks worker who fatally struck a woman as she lay at a park in Bernal Heights last month has been charged with felony counts of vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Thomas Burnoski, 58, is set to be arraigned on the charges on Wednesday afternoon at the Hall of Justice, district attorney’s office spokesman Alex Bastian said.

Burnoski is accused of running over Christine Svanemyr, a 35-year-old woman who was with her 11-month-old daughter at Holly Park on the afternoon of Sept. 5.

He then drove away in his green Recreation and Park truck but was located by officers a short time later and was taken into custody.

Burnoski was free on bail after his initial arrest but turned himself in this afternoon and was booked on $350,000 bail for the felony charges, sheriff’s spokeswoman Susan Fahey said.

Burnoski’s attorney Robert Waggener was not immediately available to comment on the charges but has previously said that his client did not know that he struck Svanemyr until he was told by police after the incident.

Waggener said Burnoski was driving on an asphalt path typically used by city parks workers, then strayed off the path and into the grass where Svanemyr was lying.

Svanemyr, a Daly City resident and ordained Zen monk, suffered major head and chest injuries and was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where she died. Her infant daughter was not injured, police said.

 

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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