San Francisco’s municipal transport system (Muni) was recently served a wrongful death lawsuit in the death of Scott Whitsett. The suit was filed by the attorneys of Scott’s husband, Dr. Theodore Glaza, and it charges Muni with carelessness, negligence, inattention and failure to use reasonable care, resulting in the fatal collision. The suit was also filed against the San Francisco county.
According to Glaza’s attorneys, “Muni has a terrible safety record, and despite many serious and even fatal accidents each year, it continues to operate in a manner that disregards public safety.” The statement went on to say that Dr. Glaza hopes his suit will prompt Muni to begin taking proper safety steps so that others are not deprived of their loved ones as a result of preventable accidents.
Whitsett was 49 on the April 2010 morning of his accident. He was walking south on Mission near Beale Street when he was hit by the westbound Mission 14 Muni bus. According to the complaint following investigation into the incident, the driver of the bus was distracted at the time, due to unwrapping a candy bar. Thus, she failed to notice the pedestrian. Compounding this, she accidentally pushed down on the accelerator rather than the brake, and drove her vehicle right into Whitsett. The crash pinned Whitsett between the Mission 14 and another Muni bus, knocking him to the ground, where he was then run over by the Mission 14.
The impact left Whitsett with multiple internal injuries and fractures, including a severe head injury. This is what ultimately claimed his life shortly thereafter at the nearby emergency room.
The accident comes on the heels of numerous reports of drivers operating while distracted, whether eating, calling, or texting someone outside of work while on the job. The lawsuit claims that such incidents are far too numerous and endemic to be isolated events, and hopes to prompt a shakeup that will reform the Muni’s abysmal safety record in Whitsett’s memory.