A Muni bus fatally crushed a man Wednesday morning after he stumbled and fell beneath the back wheel, according to the police.
The man, who appeared to be Caucasian or Hispanic and in his 20s, was seen by several witnesses stumbling on the sidewalk near the rear of the Municipal Railway bus at Fifth and Jessie streets moments before he was struck by a 26-Valencia bus, San Francisco Police Department spokeswoman Maria Oropeza said.
The bus was not carrying any passengers when the incident occurred around 9:10 a.m. The bus driver said she had checked the mirror before starting to pull away from the curb, but did not see the man coming down the sidewalk, according to Oropeza.
The bus driver told police that when she started to move she felt a bump and immediately stopped.
"He rolled under the bus and then the bus rolled over him," said Oropeza, who said the man's body would be tested for signs of alcohol or drug use.
Bennie Torres, a construction worker who was standing nearby when the man was killed, said he wasn't watching at the moment of impact, but rushed over as soon as he saw a man had been hit.
"The head was crushed," said Torres, who said he had seen the man hanging around the area before. "He looked like he was homeless to me."
Barbara Edwards, a security guard who lives in the neighborhood, said homeless people were often hanging around on the sidewalk at that section of Jessie Street.
Per department protocol, the bus driver is now on paid, nondriving status, pending the results of the investigation, MUNI spokeswoman Maggie Lynch said.
"The driver is distraught. This is a horrible, tragic accident," Lynch said.