A motorcyclist who was struck by a San Francisco fire truck driven by an allegedly drunken firefighter has filed a claim for damages with the city, saying he ran up nearly half a million dollars in medical bills while being hospitalized for more than a month, reports The San Francisco Chronicle.
Jack Frazier, 49, of Daly City suffered a collapsed lung, neck and back injuries, and fractured ribs and other broken bones when the ladder truck driven by firefighterMichael Quinn went through a red light at Fifth and Howard streets late June 29 and hit his motorcycle.
Frazier was hurled into a fire hydrant. He was hospitalized for more than a month at a cost of more than $461,000, according to the claim his lawyer lodged with the city this week.
Quinn and other firefighters from Station 1 on Howard Street were responding to what turned out to be a false alarm. Fire Department officials say the ladder truck’s siren and red lights were on, but department rules require even rigs responding to emergencies to wait until an intersection is clear before driving through them.
Claims such as Frazier’s typically are precursors to lawsuits. The city has 45 days to consider Frazier’s claim, which does not specify a dollar amount, Quinn allegedly left the crash scene and did not turn up at Station 1 for several hours. He was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and hit-and-run, but has yet to be charged.
Police investigating the case obtained security-camera footage that shows Quinn drinking water at the Chieftain Irish Pub at Fifth and Howard early June 30 before returning to the station, according to sources with knowledge of the case. At least one firefighter spoke to Quinn in the bar, sources say.
After he showed up at Station 1, Quinn’s blood alcohol level was measured at 0.13 percent, above the legal limit for driving of 0.08 percent, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the police investigation is continuing.
The Fire Department has a zero-tolerance policy for drinking on duty.
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