Mother run over, killed by San Francisco parks vehicle

Police mark off an area around a San Francisco Recreation and Park vehicle believed involved in a fatal hit-and-run collision, September 5, 2013. CBS San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO A woman lying with her daughter in a San Francisco park was run over by a maintenance vehicle and died later at a hospital, authorities said Thursday.

The driver apparently fled the scene, but was later detained and questioned. Police found the green San Francisco Recreation and Park vehicle not too far from Holly Park in the city's Bernal Heights neighborhood.

According to Parks department spokeswoman Sarah Ballard, the driver has worked for the department since January 2006.

The woman was on the grass on the south end of the park, south of the tennis courts, when she was struck, San Francisco police Officer Tracy Turner said.

The woman was taken to San Francisco General Hospital where she was pronounced dead from her injuries, said fire department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge.

The woman was identified by the medical examiner's office as 35-year-old Christine Svanemyr, reports CBS San Francisco. The girl was unharmed and is now in the custody of her father, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The girl's age was not released. The dog is with Animal Care and Control.

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

Patricia Leach, a resident of the neighborhood off and on since the 1960s, said she has seen more and more Recreation and Park vehicles recently in Holly Park's grassy areas, some driving quickly.

"They drive too fast, and there's no need," Leach said.

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 of a tragic accident that occurred at Holly Park this afternoon," Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg said in a statement. "This is a devastating day for all. The Recreation and Park Department is cooperating fully with the San Francisco Police Department as they investigate this accident."

Supervisor David Campos, whose district includes Holly Park, said the Board of Supervisors would look at the rules governing park vehicles.

"The idea that you can go into a park with your baby and be run over is impossible to imagine," he told the Chronicle. "Something went wrong here. We can't have anything like this happen again."

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