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Muni bus killed San Francisco man at center of robotaxi, firefighter dispute

Sammy Davis, 69, died on Aug. 14 after being hit by the rear of a Muni bus at Harrison and Seventh streets. | Source: Jeremy Chen/The Standard

San Francisco's transit agency announced Tuesday a Muni bus killed a pedestrian at the center of a dispute between the fire department and Cruise robotaxi company.

Sammy Davis, 69, who had no fixed address, died on Aug. 14 after being hit by the rear of a Muni bus at Harrison and Seventh streets in SoMa—the driver and passengers did not notice Davis had been hit, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

An internal San Francisco Fire Department report said a Cruise autonomous vehicle delayed an ambulance from transporting Davis to hospital, contributing to his death.

Now, the fire chief says early press coverage of the internal report inaccurately blamed the Cruise car for Davis' death—rather, the internal report claims the incident contributed to his death but did not directly cause it. The chief's comments came in a joint statement with the SFMTA, in which they call Davis' death "an all-around heartbreaking and tragic incident."

"This is a [an internal] report that reflects the subjective experience of an individual first responder who submitted an internal report to the fire department," a joint statement added Wednesday. "Their statement does not reflect a judgment of the fire department or the fire chief."

"The San Francisco Fire Chief has not attributed this pedestrian death to Cruise AVs," the statement said. "The city sends our deepest condolences to [the] family and friends of the victim."

A Cruise robotaxi waits at a stoplight on the corner of 10th and Division streets in San Francisco. | Source: Isaac Ceja/The Standard

General Motors-backed Cruise strongly denied the fire department's prior claims that its vehicle blocked the ambulance from transporting Davis from the emergency scene.

“Nothing lessens the tragedy of a lost life, but we appreciate the fire chief's clarification that they have not attributed this to Cruise," a Cruise spokesperson said Tuesday. "We look forward to continued and increased collaboration with SFFD on our shared goal of road safety.”

Editor's Note: A previous version of this article stated the fire chief said their internal report was inaccurate. However, the fire chief refers to some early press coverage of the report that the chief says was inaccurate.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly referenced the 2 Sutter bus line.

Joe Burn can be reached at jburn@sfstandard.com