Muni tunnel driver arrested on suspicion of DUI, other charges 

The man who drove his SUV into a Muni tunnel early Thursday morning, causing massive delays for commuters, has been arrested on three charges related to the incident, including suspicion of driving under the influence.

The driver, Scott Mitchell, a 40-year-old Sebastopol resident, sped at about 40 miles per hour in the inbound direction on the outbound train tracks at 5:56 a.m., making it about a half-mile before becoming stuck on the trackway, according to police and Muni supervisor Tyonne Julian, who witnessed the event.

Click on the photo at right to see a mugshot of Scott Mitchell.

Julian said that Mitchell actually swerved around a train heading inbound to drive on the outbound tracks at the tunnel, called the Duboce Portal.  When Julian saw this, he radioed ahead to central command to stop all outbound trains at Van Ness Station.

Mitchell was arrested at the scene and charged with suspicion of DUI, driving on train tracks, and failure to obey a traffic sign, said Officer Albie Esparza of the San Francisco Police Department.

As a result of the incident, Muni Metro service was shut down in all downtown stations, causing massive delays for the hundreds of thousands of passengers who take the trains each day. Service in the underground station was finally restored at 8:18 a.m., after crews were able to remove the SUV from the trackway, said Muni spokesman Paul Rose.

At 9:15 a.m., dozens of passengers at Church Street station were still being passed over by Metro trains overflowing with riders.

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Will Reisman

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