Sunbathing mom hit, killed by city truck in Calif. park

A city Recreation and Park Department worker faces a felony hit-and-run charge after his maintenance vehicle struck and killed a woman who was with her child at Holly Park in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood Thursday afternoon, authorities said.

The victim has been identified by the medical examiner's office as 35-year-old Christine Svanemyr. She was hit shortly after 2:20 p.m. in the park, fire department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said. She was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where she died.

Her child was uninjured, police said.

The woman was hit by a city Recreation and Park Department pickup truck driven by an employee who has worked for the department since January 2006, Rec and Park spokeswoman Sarah Ballard said.

The driver drove off after the collision, but he and the truck were found nearby a few minutes after officers arrived, San Francisco police Officer Tracy Turner said. He has been detained.

The woman was on the grass on the south end of the park, south of the tennis courts, when she was struck, according to Turner.

Police said the driver now faces a felony hit-and-run charge.

A man who lives nearby told KTVU he saw the woman sunbathing before she was struck.

"The pink bag, the blanket and stuff, I can see it from the street," said Rev. Nathaniel Riley. "She was laying face down there."

The Police Department's hit-and-run unit is investigating the fatal incident, according to Turner.

As neighbors left flowers at the site of the accident, some were questioning why a city employee would be driving on the grassy area that is often filled with people, children and dogs.

"It's sad. It shakes you up because I bring my son up to this park," said neighbor Wardy Joubert. "Just to know that Park and Rec is that reckless or not paying attention. Once in a while, you see them riding through very fast."

Investigators used police tape to block off much of Holly Park Circle, the street that encircles the park, as well as portions of the park itself.

"On behalf of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family and friends of the victim," Rec and Park general manager Phil Ginsburg said in a statement.

The department "is cooperating fully with the San Francisco Police Department as they investigate this accident," he said.

The vehicle was spotted by a KTVU cameraman several blocks from Holly Park in what appeared to be a maintenance yard for city vehicles.

A spokeswoman for Rec and Park declined to identify the worker but said he has been with the agency since 2006.

Neighbors told KTVU the Bernal Heights area is a small community and that their hearts go out to the woman and her famiily.