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Posted on www.SFgate.com
By Rachel Gordon, Stephanie M. Lee, John Wildermuth

The Muni operator who faces a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge for running over a 23-year-old woman with his bus in a Castro district crosswalk last summer made a brief court appearance Thursday on a procedural matter, and in a hallway interview afterward his attorney said that his client shouldn't be blamed.

Defense attorney Stuart Hanlon said the real culprit was inadequate supervision at Muni that allowed his client, Wallace Loggins, to drive a 40-foot bus along unfamiliar streets.

"He was doing everything right, but he was lost," Hanlon said. "Central Control sent him on a street he didn't know. I just think it's an awful accident."

Loggins was sent to a new assignment without proper direction from Central Control, Hanlon said. Loggins, who had been driving with Muni for eight months, was taken off his regular route and told to take his bus to the Castro to drive a special bus shuttle to augment the overcrowded F-line rail route on Aug. 18.

He ended up making a left turn from 18th Street onto Hartford Street, a narrow residential street without regular bus service. It was during that turn that he struck and killed Emily Dunn.

She was walking in the crosswalk at the time and had the right-of-way, but she was looking down and texting right before she reached the curb and never saw the bus coming, Hanlon said. Loggins reportedly was glancing in his side-view mirror when he hit Dunn.

Surveillance cameras on the bus recorded the incident.

The district attorney's office said the driver was negligent for not seeing the pedestrian. If convicted, Loggins faces up to a year in County Jail. A trial date has not been set. Loggins has pleaded not guilty.

- Rachel Gordon