San Francisco Firefighters Could Face Suspensions For Drunk Driving Truck Into Motorcyclist

| by Khier Casino

Five members of the San Francisco Fire Department face possible suspensions relating to an incident in which a firefighter suspected of drunk driving crashed a fire truck into a motorcyclist and fled the scene.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White has notified two assistant chiefs – Art Kenney and Dave Franklin – they could be suspended for 10 days and eight days for their actions during the night of the accident on June 29. Also at the crash site was Battalion Chief Mark Hayes, who faces a four-day suspension.

The newspaper says Michael Quinn was driving a fire truck, blasting the siren and responding to what ended up being a false alarm, when he crashed into the motorcyclist. Quinn was seen at a bar drinking down water fast immediately after the accident. His blood alcohol level was well above the legal limit measuring at 0.13 percent.

Quinn recently resigned but could face criminal charges, depending on results of the police investigation.

Two lower-tier firefighters face more serious discipline that requires the commission's review, according to the newspaper.

Firefighters Warren Der and Matt Schwartz, the commander of the truck Quinn was driving, reportedly face suspensions of 30 days. Der helped Quinn run the truck, and was allegedly with Quinn at the bar following the crash.

Hayes-White did not want to comment on the suspensions, but says that allegations of cover-up were not true.

"What has been alleged is that it was a cover-up," she said. "I don't believe that there was a cover-up that evening, nor did the administrative investigation that we conducted indicate that.

"Could there have been other, perhaps better decisions that night? Yes."

The motorcyclist, Jack Frazier, suffered broken bones and a collapsed lung.

Chuck Koro, Frazier’s attorney, is suing the city of San Francisco and Quinn to try to stop any drinking from happening at the fire department. He pointed out to NBC Bay Area that a 2004 grand jury report discovered widespread drinking in San Francisco fire houses.

"I'm confident it's a minority of firefighters, but it all has to end," Koro said.