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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

DMV: Operator In Muni Train Wreck Ought to Have His Commercial and Personal Driver's Licenses Revoked

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2009 at 12:01 AM

click to enlarge The DMV's next target...
  • The DMV's next target...
If you plowed your car into the back of a Muni train and told authorities afterward that you must have blacked out, odds are you wouldn't be motoring anywhere for quite some time. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, the same goes for those who black out and pilot their trains into a Muni train.

DMV spokesman Armando Botello confirmed SF Weekly's query regarding Henry Gray, the operator of the L-Taraval train who claimed he blacked out just prior to colliding with a K-Ingleside at West Portal station. A man who blacks out behind the wheel of a commuter train is every bit as eligible to have his driver's license seized as a civilian who does so in his or her own car.

"If the department were to receive notification from a reliable source, e.g. law enforcement, of an incident in which a driver experienced a lapse of consciousness resulting in a traffic accident, we would impose immediate suspension of the individual's driving privilege..." read the DMV protocol e-mailed to us by Botello.

"A reliable source" -- does CNN count?

Botello confirmed that Gray stands to lose his commercial and Class C license.

Yesterday, Transportation Workers Union President Irwin Lum also predicted Gray would be riding a lot more Muni without his license. Also, SF Weekly yesterday broke the story that Lum claims the practice of switching into manual operation mode and not staying on automatic power through arrival at West Portal Station -- fingered by the National Transportation Safety Board as a cause of this crash -- is an "understood practice" long tolerated by management. Muni officials denied this charge.

Lum, meanwhile, claims the driver "didn't do something that was wrong" -- other than supposedly blacking out and ramming into another train.  

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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