San Francisco Close to Settling Drunk Driving Ladder Case for $5 Million

The infamous case of the drunk San Francisco firefighter who struck a motorcyclist with a ladder truck and then fled the scene on foot in 2013, is moving toward a final settlement.

On June 29, 2013, FF Michael Quinn was driving a ladder truck on a run when he proceeded through a red traffic light and collided with a motorcycle driven by Jack Frazier. The accident was caught on a security camera and showed Frazier being critically injured.

Quinn ended up fleeing the scene on foot, but not before going into a nearby bar with the assistance of coworkers to chug pitchers of water. That episode was also caught on a security camera. Hours later Quinn returned to his fire station and he was sent for a breathalyzer which indicated that he was impaired. For a variety of reasons, not the least of which was the lapse of time between the accident and the test, the BAL results were deemed inadmissible in his criminal case, and charges against Quinn were dropped. Quinn did resign from SFFD.

Frazier, who required multiple surgeries and will likely never fully recover, filed suit against the City and County of San Francisco and Quinn personally. A proposed settlement is now before the San Francisco Government Audit and Oversight Committee. The $5 million settlement will be funded primarily by the City and County, with Quinn being responsible for $10,000.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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