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Source: MedleyStory

Surveillance captures big rig crash into Muni light rail

Friday's collision of a big rig and a Muni light rail vehicle was captured by a surveillance camera trained on Third Street.

The crash happened at Third and Innes, where signs clearly prohibit a left turn over the train tracks. The video, from an auto shop camera, clearly shows the 18-wheeler turning left, into the path of a light rail vehicle running alongside. The impact knocked the train off the track, and passengers off their seats.

"A lot of hollering and a lot of pushing, and a lot of people running around," described passenger Anthony Barry, as he arrived at San Francisco General Hospital to get checked for bruises on his side.

"It hurt like hell, it hurts like hell," he complained.

Forty people were on the articulated car and about half reported pain afterward. 11 were taken to area hospitals, with minor to moderate injuries. The MUNI operator was among those transported.

"The operator did everything he could have done," MUNI Director of Transit John Haley told KTVU. "Incidents on Third Street are something we've been paying close attention to."

MUNI tries with lights and signs to keep cars, tractor-trailers, and trains separate on this busy corridor.

The veteran operator, seeing the big rig in his path dropped the charged overhead wires for safety and threw on his emergency brake.

"For somebody who's an operator, it's extremely upsetting," said Haley, "because it's a sense of powerlessness."

The crash punctured the 120 gallon gas tank on the semi, and diesel fuel leaked to the pavement, but was contained before it entered any storm drains.

The truck towed from the intersection, and its driver told reporters he is based in Southern California.

"I guess I got too close to him," said driver Juan Godinez, who claimed he was sitting still in traffic when the rail car sideswiped him. 

"I was waiting, getting closer to the street, to the side, so the traffic can go by, and the train was so big, that I got too close," he offered.

But the surveillance video obtained by KTVU clearly shows the 73 foot truck making a deliberate and illegal left turn across the tracks. Police say a citation is certain.

MUNI couldn't explain the coincidence of two big crashes, minutes apart, on opposite sides of town.

"We have a thousand vehicles on the street every day, and the city is so busy," observed spokeswoman

Kristen Holland, "There are lots of things we don't hear about, that nearly happened or could happen, but unfortunately today did happen."

The 16-year-old light rail car eventually made its way to the yard under its own power.

Damage to the two million dollar vehicle was not as bad as first feared, and it should be able to carry passengers again after repairs.

Published: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 23:02:42 -0700

Passerby saves injured bobcat on road

A young male bobcat, hit by a car on Highway 84 in Sunol in May, made quite a journey before being returned to the wild this week.

Teams of rescuers from the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley and Felidae Conservation Fund released the bobcat in an open space in San Ramon Friday afternoon.

After the wild cat was hit by a car, the first person to come to his rescue was Olga Sylko, of Tracy. She was driving to her job in Fremont when she spotted the injured animal in the road.

Worried for his safety, she said she decided to throw a towel on the cat, pick him up and put him in the back of her Prius and drove to work.

Sylko, who is deaf, told KTVU by phone through a translator that she was careful to avoid being bitten.

"I was very nervous. I was high on adrenaline," said Sylko, who is an animal lover.

She said once she arrived in Fremont with the animal, the police officers who responded were incredulous, believing that it was actually a large house cat in the car. You can imagine their surprise when they opened the trunk and found a bobcat, hissing back at them.

She said her friend then drove the bobcat to a local animal hospital, where he was cared for overnight. The next day, he was transported from Ohlone Veterinary Emergency Clinic to the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley.

Ashley Kinney, of the Wildlife Center, said the animal suffered head trauma and a broken left leg. She said a vet from Adobe Animal Hospital, Dr. Rachel Boltz, donated the surgical services to treat the fracture, and then workers at the Wildlife Center spent more than two months rehabilitating him, making sure he could hunt, climb and survive in the wild.

Biologists from Felidae Conservation put an ear tag on the bobcat Friday morning, in hopes of learning more about his movements after returning to the wild. The organization uses wildlife cameras to help study animal behavior. Both organizations worked together to find a suitable location to release the animal.

"It feels great to see wildlife go back to where it should be," said Zara McDonald, of Felidae Conservation.

Published: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 22:26:20 -0700

Football star severely burned in fire, continues to cheer on his teammates

A San Jose State football player seriously injured during a fire is now making a comeback both on and off the field.

Jared Leaf says a positive attitude helps him stay on course when the unexpected happened.

The 21-year-old says he’s anxious to suit up and play this season, he's also ready to start classes as a junior in three weeks.

A love of football and the camaraderie of teammates have invigorated Leaf’s recovery.

"It's just good to be out here. Feel like being a part of something again," he said.

The San Jose Spartans were out on the field under the hot summer sun for the first day of practice to prepare for the upcoming season.

Leaf watched from the sidelines, wearing a big hat, long sleeves and bandages to protect the second and third degree burns he suffered on 50 percent of his body. The injuries, Leaf says are still painful to the touch.

"It takes a lot of time but time is what I got right now. It's all good," Leaf said.

Especially good considered Leaf was severely burned as he escaped a fire at his off campus apartment just over three months ago.

He says he's put the ordeal behind him and is ready to tackle the obstacles that have come his way.

"Being through something like that, you realize what matters and what doesn't matter," said Leaf

He said it’s been tough not being able to play, but he plans on attending training camp every day for the next three weeks to cheer on his teammates. It’s not yet clear when he’ll be able to return to the field to practice himself.

"Give them encouragement, moral support and bring them water. I'll be part time water boy out here," he said with a smile.

Ron Caragher, the Spartan's head coach, says Leaf inspires his teammates.

"He will get on the field. It's a matter of when he gets on the field is our only question. But just having Jared Leaf around enhances our program," Caragher said.

Leaf , a linebacker, has played football since he was just 8-years-old.

He’s on a full scholarship at San Jose State and has maintained a 4.0 grade point average.

While Leaf says it’s been tough not being able to go at full speed, attitude is everything.

"Keep your attitude in the right place and you can really get through anything," he said.

The Spartans will play the first game of the season at home on August 28th.

Leaf told KTVU he won't be on the field. But he will be with his teammates on the sidelines.


Published: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 21:53:08 -0700

Fake fair tickets turn up at Sonoma Co. Fair

A warning for people going to the Sonoma County Fair, someone is selling fake ride tickets on social media among other places.

Fair organizers say over $10,000 worth of fake tickets have already showed up at the ticket office, in the week the fair has been going on.

One of the many victims who purchased the fake tickets was a Sonoma County youth group.

"They paid $3,000 for counterfeit tickets, and they were using it as a fundraiser," says Tawny Tesconi Sonoma County Fair manager. 

Tesconi explained the difference between the real and fake tickets to KTVU.

This year the ride tickets are pink and are valued at $25.  The fake ones are slightly smaller and are either red or green.  The counterfeit tickets also say WOW on them and have a face value of $20.  Tesconi says the fake tickets are similar to ones sold four years ago, but the ticket series numbers do not match any inventory they've ever sold.

"Craigslist and Facebook was a big part of this. They were selling them on those different type of social media.  The other thing they were doing is standing in parking lots across the street from the fair," says Tesconi. 

Besides the youth group Tesconi says some families have spent $500 on the fake tickets.

While the fair is not obligated to honor those fraudulent tickets, management told KTVU it’s been willing to make a deal.

"They'll match one for one. So if somebody buys a wrist band. They'll give them a free wristband in exchange," says Tesconi. 

News of the scam has one person at the fair saying she's not taking any chances. 

"I always buy direct from the source, because I don't want to have fraud or anything un-fun happen on a fair day," says Kimberly Strom of Santa Rosa. 

Management recommends buying your tickets from the fair or a certified partner. 

The fair runs through August 10.


Published: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 21:17:30 -0700

Man seriously injured in Antioch shooting

A 32-year-old man was seriously wounded in a shooting in Antioch early Friday morning.

Officers responded around 12:20 a.m. to a report of shots fired and a man yelling for help near the intersection of Golf Course Road and Judsonville Drive, according to police.

Police arriving on the scene found the victim suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

Officers performed first aid on the man, who was then taken to an area hospital in serious condition.

Police said he is expected to survive.

No information about suspects was available and an investigation into the shooting is ongoing.

Published: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 21:05:11 -0700

25-year-old cold case murder suspect pleads not guilty

A man facing the death penalty for allegedly killing and sexually assaulting a woman 25 years ago has pleaded not guilty in San Mateo County Superior Court, prosecutors said Friday.

Prosecutors say 45-year-old Brisbane resident Gabriel O'Neill, 27-year-old Sheila Lorraine Hatcher and three others drove to San Bruno Mountain to use drugs on March 12, 1989.

While there, attorneys allege that O'Neill and Hatcher walked away from the others.

Once out of view of the others, O'Neill is accused of sexually assaulting Hatcher and beating her to death.

Authorities report Hatcher's body was found that day in a ravine by two hikers.

At the time, investigators could not find sufficient evidence to identify a suspect.

But in 2013, Hatcher's family requested the case be reopened by the sheriff's office.

According the sheriff's office, O'Neill's DNA has been found on Hatcher.

O'Neill pleaded not guilty to the charges on Thursday before Judge Mark Forcum.

Prosecutors also say O'Neill waved his right to a speedy preliminary hearing.

The preliminary hearing has been set for Dec. 10, 2014 at 9 a.m. Meanwhile, O'Neill remains in custody without bail.

Published: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 20:56:15 -0700

Vogelsong stifles Mets in Giants' 5-1 win

Ryan Vogelsong's strategy in the dugout before the ninth inning was simple: keep quiet.

Tired but eager for a shot at his first nine-inning complete game, the right-hander chose not to answer his coaches when asked how he was feeling.

He was just fine, finishing off his second career complete game with a perfect ninth to lead the San Francisco Giants to a swift 5-1 victory over the New York Mets on Friday night for their second straight win after a six-game skid.

"I just kind of didn't answer them because I didn't want to come out," said Vogelsong, who had a six-inning complete game against the Cubs in 2011. "It was something I wanted to do."

Vogelsong (6-8) faced 28 batters, one over the limit, allowing Juan Lagares' soft single leading off the sixth and Lucas' Duda's 20th homer to start the eighth. In ending a five-decision losing skid, he walked one and got two double plays. Vogelsong threw 102 pitches in the game that took 2 hours, 6 minutes.

Brandon Crawford had a run-scoring single, Matt Duffy an RBI single for his first big league hit and Hunter Pence added a two-run triple and RBI groundout off Jonathon Niese (5-7) for San Francisco.

The Giants were coming off a horrid homestand in which they lost five of six to fall out of first place in the NL West. They improved to 30-20 on the road.

"We normally play very well at home," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We just have a tough time scoring runs there. I don't know what to do to change it but we're working on it."

After giving Vogelsong no run support in five of his last six outings, the Giants got on the board in the second thanks in part to Niese's throwing error.

Juan Perez led off with a double. Gregor Blanco then bounced back to Niese. The left-hander tried to nab Perez, who got caught off second, but he bounced the throw and Perez raced into third. Crawford followed with an RBI single and Pence drove in another with a grounder.

"It's unfortunate, because that's a situation where I can't make a mistake, and I did," Niese said. "Just made a mistake and paid for it, costing us runs and, ultimately, the game."

Pence tripled to right-center after Crawford tripled down the right field line and Vogelsong was hit by a pitch in the seventh. Pence was 4 for 33 coming in.

Niese pitched 8-plus innings and allowed nine hits and five runs — three earned. He hit two batters.

Published: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 20:29:18 -0700

Despite drought, 2014 predicted to be a good wine year

At J Vineyards and Winery in Healdsburg in Sonoma County harvesting has already begun, a good two weeks earlier than usual.

"Due to the drought, soil conditions are drying up, so we had some bud breaks. The growing season has been fairly warm. So conditions were just right for an early harvest," said Scott Zapotocky, operations director at J Vineyards.

J Vineyards began picking its sparkling wine grapes Wednesday night, and expects to go out again next week.

The harvest for the other, non-sparkling reds and whites should begin in mid-to late August, again a few weeks earlier than usual.

While wineries say they can't be entirely sure yet, the preliminary forecast is that 2014 should go down as a very good year. The quantity of wine may be a little below average, but the quality should be high.

"The stuff I had from the press pan from the sparkling wine we pressed had good concentration, good balance of sugar to acidity. So far, so good," said Zapotocky.

J Vineyards is fortunate to have its own wells for irrigation. But because of the drought, some wineries just north of Healdsburg have had to truck in water or use reclaimed water from the city's treatment plant.

"We're not using a lot of water, but water when it is needed," said Zaptocky.

The wine from these grapes will most likely be on store shelves in two or three years. It's too early to predict if prices will be higher then.

But the bottom line in the region is that while the drought hasn't brought widespread problems to the wine industry this year, no one seems to want another dry year next season.

Published: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 19:52:54 -0700

Pit Bull, man stabbed in 2 separate incidents Friday morning

A pit bull and two men were stabbed in two separate incidents that happened in San Francisco early Friday morning.

The first happened when a man was standing with his pit bull in the area of Broadway and Kearny streets around 1:30 a.m., police said. 

A male suspect approached and fought with the dog, brandished a knife and began to stab the animal, according to police.

Another man got into the middle of the fight and was stabbed by the suspect, police said.

The man suffered injuries that were not believed to life-threatening, according to police.

The pit bull was taken to a veterinarian for lacerations to a leg that were not life-threatening, police said.

Another stabbing occurred near 16th and Mission streets around 3 a.m., when five men attacked a male victim, according to police.

The suspects robbed the man of his cellphone and cash and stabbed him in the leg before fleeing, police said.

The man was transported to a hospital, where he is in stable condition, police said.

No arrests have been made in either case.

Published: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 19:35:59 -0700

Crews prep for Levi's Stadium opening game

Crews are working hard to get Levi’s Stadium ready for the first big event, a San Jose Earthquakes soccer game, Saturday night.

While it won’t be the 49ers breaking in the field first, officials say they’re planning a party they believe will appeal to fans of both football and soccer.

Tickets are sold out and fans can't wait for the doors to open.

"It's pretty cool. It's not every day you get to see a new stadium," says Landon Calannio of Santa Clara.

Friday afternoon workers tested the sound system, the power and workers walked the entire stadium making sure the wi-fi was working from every seat.

And while some put in new plants and polished the railings.

Others were tasked with stocking the stores with merchandise and the concession stands with cold beer.

Contractors came in to meet last minute deadlines.

"That's what we do. We're always about last minute craziness," says TIme Prater of Splash Events.

The San Jose Earthquakes got in one final practice before the big game.

The team president says fans at this inaugural event are in for a treat.

"We're going to have a lot of pomp and circumstance both at pregame and at halftime. And of course all the action on the pitch," says Dave Kaval, President of the San Jose Earthquakes.

The halftime show, a tribute to championships, will have appearances by former champions both from the Earthquakes and the 49ers.

And there are keepsakes. Banners will be a free giveaway at the door and scarfs will be on sale for $25, so fans can remember the day.

"We have a lot of things that are one offs that we did for this game cause it's so special," says Kaval.

Now the time for practicing is finally over. Saturday's game will fill the stands to about two-thirds their capacity.

Still it will be a real test for everything from security to parking.

Officials say all the planning and hard work is about to pay off.

"Now we're here to enjoy that and I think people are ready for a party," says Kaval.

After Saturday’s soccer game there will be some time to evaluate what worked well at the stadium and what needs tweaking. The 49ers take the field for their first preseason game August 17th.

Published: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 19:13:47 -0700

Bay Area Facebookers react to outage

For the second time in as many months the Bay Area-based worldwide social media site Facebook crashed, leaving untold millions of users without access to their accounts.  Though it was a short outage it had worldwide reverberations.

It made headlines worldwide and was the talk of Twitter and all other social media.

Los Angeles police even took to twitter to plead with residents to stop asking them when Facebook would be back up.

Facebook has become something of a utility that’s expected to work all the time.

"Consumers just expect it to be there when they need it. Its part of their life and when it's not there it's terrifically upsetting," says Kit Yarrow, Professor of Consumer Psychology at Golden Gate University.  Doctor Abby Metcalf, a Psychologist specializing in addictions says, Facebook and other social media stimulate the same brain pleasure centers that drugs and other addictive do.

"There are treatment centers across the United States.  There's only a few open.  There's three or four that I know of who are specifically treating social media addiction," says Dr. Metcalf.

One man we met in Berkeley says many of his friends sure seem addicted.

"People, that's their whole lives, so it's like, you know what I mean, they can't go without it, you know, Now that it's here it's here to stay," says J.R. Williams. 

Other folks we met in Berkeley, fully aware of alternatives, told us that they're not so concerned about a Facebook outage.

"If I was on it during an outage, I don't think I would care that much though. I'd just go on another website maybe," says Jocelyn Wu, a young Facebook user.

"It's not like a life or death moment like you have to be, get a connection on the Facebook and it's gonna hinder you in some way," says Jacob Johnson another frequent Facebook user.

However, one man told us that many companies use Facebook for marketing, ordering and customer service.

"I'm sure it is a big part of some peoples' businesses. They're probably using it all the time and being down, it's like anything else being down," says Andrew Hoffman.

Facebook ultimately did put up an explanation of what happened, but I think you'd have to have a software engineering degree to understand it. But, make no mistake Facebook is important. If Facebook's users were a nation, its population would be third only to China and India.

Published: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 18:31:07 -0700

Arson to blame for fire near De Anza trail

Arsonists appear to have been behind a fire that destroyed an outbuilding and damaged a residential building along the Delta de Anza Regional Trail in Pittsburg Friday afternoon, a fire marshal said.

The one-alarm fire was reported at 3:13 p.m. near the intersection of the trail and Railroad Avenue, according to Contra Costa County Fire Protection District officials.

The fire burned about an eighth of an acre of vegetation in addition to burning the two structures along the trail between Railroad Avenue and Crestview Drive, Fire Marshal Robert Marshall said.

Firefighters got the blaze under control in about 20 minutes, he said.

No injuries were reported.

The fire marshal said witnesses reported seeing someone start the fire a short time before it was reported. Fire district and East Bay Regional Parks District investigators are working to identify and locate at least one suspect.

Marshall said the fire caused about $25,000 in damage to the residential structure, but it is unclear whether anyone is currently living there.

Published: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 17:10:09 -0700

Old Labrador who walked 30 miles back home adopted

An elderly black Labrador retriever who once walked 30 miles to return to a home that did not want her has now been rescued by an heiress with a soft spot for animals.

Lady was adopted by a family in Sedan, Kansas, after her owner died in 2012. But she did not get along with smaller dogs that the family adopted, so she was taken to a shelter.

The mellow Lab was again adopted, this time by a woman who lived 30 miles from the previous family with the small dogs.  She grabbed headlines when she walked all 30 miles to get back to that family -- a family that did not want to take her back.

At this point, the story becomes a fairy tale.

Helen Rich, the Wrigley chewing gum heiress,  recently lost her own senior black Labrador. She saw a Facebook post about Lady and decided to adopt her.

Rich sent her personal assistants Chet Ragsdale and Barbara DeCiocco on a private jet to Kansas to pick Lady up.

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And where is Lady now? Sharing space at an 11,000-square foot home in Odessa, Fla., with five other dogs and several cats. With a spot right next to Rich.

“The dog will be right there where she is,” DiCioccio said. “We already have a bed for her.”  (

Rich founded On the Wings of Angels Rescue and shelters scores of rescued animals on a large tract of land in Odessa.

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Published: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 16:03:43 -0700

Brutal otter attack closes popular beach in Wash. [Warning: Graphic Content]

An otter attacked a boy and his grandmother in a popular park Thursday, leading park officialsto warn others to stay away.

 Two members of the Moser family left their favorite fishing spot on the Pilchuck River with wounds all over their heads and bodies.

"It was facing us and it came right up over his head,” Tabitha Moser said.  She watched as her 8-year-old son Bryce was brutally attacked by an animal they couldn't even identify at first.  She said Bryce was standing in the water that runs along Lake Connor Park when the animal wrapped its body around the little boy's.

"My mom is there like lightning-- she ripped it off.  She kind of ripped it off and it immediately attached on to her,” Moser said.

PHOTOS: Grandmother, boy injured in otter attack [Warning: Graphic Content]

They later learned it was an otter that nearly ripped her mother's eye out; she needed surgeries and more than 100 stitches.

"Her whole eye was kind of taken apart,” says Moser of her mother’s injuries.

Friday, the Department of Fish and Wildlife closed the beach and officers went searching for the otter.

"Most likely the animal will be euthanized,” Sgt. Jennifer Maurstad said.  But only if it’s found.

While a neighbor said us she's surprised to hear about the attack, she said it has happened before, relatively recently.

"On July 12th or 13th there were some people up river and there were some guys who came up and walked back and said there had been an otter attack up there,” said Sharon McDowell, who lives along the river.

Lake Connor Park security officials said they heard about a third incident.  None was as brutal as the one that happened to the Mosers, though.  Tabitha said if it wasn’t for her mother, her son may not have survived. 

“If she did not get in there like she did, if he took on the wounds that she did, I don't know if he would have made it without drowning because it was taking him under water," she said.

Published: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 15:58:34 -0700

Man gets 40 years for 1992 rape, murder of 2 women

A 53-year-old man who in May pleaded no contest to the sexual assault and murder of two women 22 years ago in the Oakland hills was sentenced Friday to 40 years to life in state prison for the crimes.

Monte Crawford pleaded no contest to first and second-degree murder charges in the 1992 deaths of Shirley Wynn and Tredis Penny.

Penny's naked body was found near Skyline Road in the Oakland hills on Feb. 24, 1992. Wynn's body was discovered five days later on March 1, 1992 about a half-mile away near Golf Links Road.

The murders went unsolved for 16 years until evidence linked Crawford to their deaths in 2008, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said the DNA matches occurred shortly before Crawford finished serving a term in prison in Washington state for a sexual offense he committed there.

Crawford was found to be mentally incompetent to stand trial shortly after the murder charges were filed against him in 2008, but he was found to be mentally competent in 2009.

Several members of the victims' families attended Friday's sentencing, and prosecutors read a letter to the court from Wynn's daughter describing her pain at the loss and what the loss meant to other members of Wynn's family.

Penny's son Jaron Penny, who was 12 years old at the time of his mother's murder, also addressed the court and had just one question for Crawford: "Why?"

"I'm glad they put him away," Penny said after the sentencing. "I don't know why he did that to my mom, but I'm glad he was sentenced for it. I'm glad he's in prison."

Penny struggled to fight back tears outside the courtroom as he was comforted by loved ones.

He said seeing the man responsible for his mother's murder sentenced has brought him a sense of closure, but he said he still struggles with the loss.

"I don't want him put to death like he did to my mom, but it has been hard for me, very hard," he said.

Published: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 15:42:27 -0700

Officials address afternoon Muni crashes

SF General spokeswoman to speak live on afternoon Muni crashes.



Published: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 15:34:03 -0700

Small plane makes emergency landing in Santa Rosa, bursts into flames

A small plane made an emergency landing today at the Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa.

According to Airport Facilities Manager Jon Stout, the two-seat airplane approached the runway normally at 11:05 a.m.

However, the front wheel collapsed when the aircraft touched down, and the plane skidded on its nose about 200 yards, Stout said.

After coming to rest, the plane burst into flames, but Stout said they were quickly extinguished.

The one person on board the plane was not injured.

Stout said the runway was closed for a little over an hour, but normal operations at the airport have now resumed.

Published: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 15:23:34 -0700

San Francisco Muni crashes trigger emergency response notifications

The two MUNI crashes Friday which happened in separate parts of the city within minutes of each other triggered San Francisco's emergency alert system, according to a spokesman for one of the hospitals.

The first crash involved a Muni bus and a dump truck on Geary Boulevard about 1:30p.m. The second crash involved a light rail train on the T-line and a semi-rig at the intersection of Third Street and Innes.

The two crashes had first responders rushing to treat the 40 people injured at the scenes. According to protocol, emergency rooms were put on alert for seven Bay Area hospitals which readied themselves to receive the injured passengers.

"San Francisco's emergency management system notifies hospitals when there's a major incident just we're on alert that we could have patients coming in and we did receive a notification," said California Pacific Medical Center spokesman Dean Fryer.

Fryer says CPMC's emergency department on Sacramento Street received three victims from the SF Muni rail crash on Third Street, and two victims from the bus crash on Geary Street.

Along with CPMC, San Francisco General received 5 passengers and San Francisco Kaiser on Geary received 5 passengers. Other passengers were taken to Kaiser South San Francisco, St. Mary's, St. Francis, and UCSF Medical Center.

Police say the first MUNI accident involved a westbound #38 bus. Investigators say it appears a truck in front of the bus came to a sudden stop and the bus driver swerved to avoid it. The bus ended up hitting the back of a second large dump truck, which was pushed into a nearby car.

"It moved forward and hit another vehicle that was attempting to park here on Geary. That driver is ok," said San Francisco Police Lt. Jennifer Jackson.

 The impact from the crash was enough to shatter the front window of the Muni bus and bend the metal door frame where passengers enter and exit.

“Twenty people were injured, twelve were transported to the hospital," Lt. Jackson told KTVU.

Police say the other eight injured people were treated at the scene. Witnesses say fire personnel, police, and first responders were working quickly to care for all of the passengers.

"They were all lying on the street and as they had them lying down on the ground, they were getting all the things to put under the back, watching their necks," said one witness, Bobby McElhaney of San Francisco.

By the end of the day, most injured passengers had been released from hospitals. A spokesman for Kaiser told KTVU that one person was admitted to the San Francisco Kaiser hospital for treatment of injuries.

Police say they will be reviewing video footage from cameras on the bus which point at the driver and at the road.

"The driver will go through a drug and alcohol test per standard procedure. And then, we turn over the video to the police department for the investigation," said Paul Rose, an SFMTA spokesman.

KTVU has learned the bus driver has been with MUNI since 2011. He has been placed on non-driving status while police investigate.

Published: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 14:22:09 -0700

Crash involving big rig and light rail in San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood

Authorities are responding to a crash involving a big rig and light rail at 3rd and Innes Ave. in San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood.

There is also a crash between a dump truck and bus at Geary and Laguna.

We have KTVU crews on their way to the scenes.

At this point, additional details have not been released.

Published: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 13:55:43 -0700

US job growth eases but tops 200K for a 6th month

A sixth straight month of solid 200,000-plus job growth in July reinforced growing evidence that the U.S. economy is accelerating after five years of sluggish expansion.

Employers added 209,000 jobs last month. Though that was fewer than in the previous three months, the economy has now produced an average 244,000 jobs a month since February — the best six-month string in eight years.

At the same time, most economists think the pace of job growth isn't enough to cause the Federal Reserve to speed up its timetable for raising interest rates. Most still think the Fed will start raising rates to ward off inflation around mid-2015.

The Labor Department's jobs report Friday pointed to an economy that has bounced back with force after a grim start to the year and is expected to sustain its strength into 2015. Economists generally expect it to grow at a 3 percent annual rate in the second half of this year after expanding 4 percent in the second quarter. Consumer spending is rising, manufacturing is expanding rapidly and auto sales are up.

"There is no doubt that the economy and the labor market have been strengthening," said Sung Won Sohn, an economist at California State University's Smith School of Business. "People are rejoining the labor force. All these factors point to moderate, but sustained economic growth in 2014."

Speaking with reporters Friday afternoon, President Barack Obama declared that the economy "is clearly getting stronger. ... Our engines are revving a little bit louder."

In an encouraging sign, more people without jobs have started to look for one — a shift that nudged up the unemployment rate in July to 6.2 percent from 6.1 percent. Most of those who began searching last month didn't find jobs. But the increase suggests they're more optimistic about their prospects. The jobless aren't counted as unemployed unless they're actively seeking work.

Still, Americans' paychecks are barely growing. That gives the Fed leeway to keep its benchmark interest rate near zero without worrying so much about higher inflation.

Investors were unimpressed by Friday's data. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 70 points and broader indexes also fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dipped, suggesting less concern about a Fed rate increase.

In one encouraging sign, a higher proportion of July's job gains were in higher-paying industries. That's a shift from much of the recovery, which has been marked by outsized gains in lower-paying fields such as restaurants, retail and home health care aides.

Manufacturing added 28,000 jobs in July, the most in eight months. Construction added 22,000 and financial services 7,000, its fourth straight gain. Accounting, bookkeeping and computer networking jobs also showed gains. And architectural and engineering jobs jumped 8,800, the most since January 2007.

"This is particularly important for new college graduates as it suggests that the market for individuals with higher education is finally firming," said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial.

Job growth is pushing up wages in some sectors. But the increases haven't been widespread.

Ted Toth, vice president of a factory in Pennsauken, New Jersey, that makes parts for satellite, radar and GPS systems, says he has four available jobs that pay from $20 to $32 an hour. But he hasn't been able to find employees qualified to fill them.

His company, Rosenberger North America, raised wages 6 percent earlier this year to fend off efforts by competitors to poach its employees.

"Everybody's stealing from each other," he said.

As hiring has increased and more people have begun seeking work, the proportion of working-age adults who either have a job or are looking for one rose slightly in July from a 36-year low to 62.9 percent. It was the first increase in four months.

The number of unemployed rose 197,000 to 9.7 million. Nearly three-fourths of that increase represented people who resumed their job hunts after previously giving up. The number of people who were unemployed because they had been laid off actually declined in July.

The lack of significant pay increases for most Americans has been a factor hobbling the recovery. Higher pay is needed to fuel consumer spending, which makes up nearly 70 percent of economic activity.

In July, average hourly earnings ticked up just a penny to $24.45. That was just 2 percent more than it was 12 months earlier and was slightly below inflation of 2.1 percent. In a healthy economy, wages before inflation would rise 3.5 percent to 4 percent annually.

Pay has failed to accelerate in part because many Americans are still uncertain about the economy's long-term health, said Mike Schenk, a senior economist at the Credit Union National Association.

Schenk expects wages to pick up once the unemployment rate falls to around 5.5 percent — a level at which some businesses will have to increase pay to keep workers and some employees will be more confident asking for a raise.

"People are still bruised," Schenk said. "I don't think they feel comfortable, generally speaking, walking in and asking for raises at this point."

Many more people are either out of work or are underemployed than the unemployment rate indicates, economists note. That can also keep a lid on pay.

Richard Moody, chief economist at Regions Financial Corporation, notes that 7.5 million Americans who are working part time would like full-time work, up from 7.3 million in January. An additional 2.2 million have stopped searching but would take a job if it was available.

On top of the 9.7 million people the government counts as unemployed, an additional 9.7 million either want a job or would like more hours. Combined, the three categories make up an "underemployment" rate of 12.2 percent.

That "is still far above any level that could be considered normal in a healthy labor market," Moody said.

Those are the figures that Federal Reserve policymakers were reviewing at a meeting this week, after which they concluded that "there remains significant underutilization of labor resources."

The challenge for the Fed is timing when to raise short-term rates. If it moves too soon to raise rates, the Fed risks choking off early signs of rising wages. If it acts too late to raise them, it risks causing inflation to surge.

Zach Pandl, a strategist at the financial firm Columbia Management, expects the Fed to start raising rates next spring.

"Wages are a lagging indicator, always the last piece of the puzzle in a recovery," Pandl said.

Published: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 13:42:49 -0700