Man charged in S.F. subway SUV ride incident

This photo provided by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), shows an SUV stuck on train tracks after hitting a concrete step, Jan. 19, 2012 in San Francisco.
AP Photo/SFMTA via the San Francisco Chronicle

SAN FRANCISCO - A man was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence Thursday over allegations he shut down San Francisco's subway system for more than two hours after driving his SUV onto the underground tracks, police said.

Scott Mitchell, 40, of Sebastapol, Calif., also has been charged with driving on train tracks and failure to obey a traffic sign, said Officer Albie Esparza, a police spokesman.

No injuries were reported as Mitchell is expected to be cited and released, Esparza said.

"It appears he just drove into the tunnel and his vehicle got stuck when it hit a concrete step," Esparza said. "We believe he was under the influence of alcohol. It's very fortunate that nobody was injured."

S.F. subway back open after SUV in tunnel

Mitchell's vehicle entered a tunnel on Church Street shortly before 6 a.m. and traveled eastward almost to the Van Ness Station, said Paul Rose, spokesman for the city's Municipal Transportation Agency.

No trains were involved in the incident, Rose said.

Tyrone Julian, a Muni manager, said he saw the SUV going about 40 mph into the tunnel and chased it down. The driver appeared intoxicated, Julian said.

All underground train lines were shut down during the morning commute while crews removed the vehicle and inspected the system. Trains resumed service by 8:15 a.m.

Some damage was done to the tracks, but crews would do repairs with trains moving slower through the affected area, Rose said.