Christine Svanemyr, the Daly City mother who was killed Thursday afternoon when she was run over by a maintenance vehicle while sunbathing at Holly Park on Bernal Hill, was a spiritual person.
The 35-year-old was a Zen priest who worked as a counselor to help people gain strength and confidence to face life during difficult situations. A statement from her company, New Ventures West, a San Francisco-based organization providing counseling services to those in need, says Svanemyr helped thousands through her kindness and friendship.
"Christy was full of brilliance, passion and kindness. Her high energy and infectious enthusiasm impacted everything and everyone she touched," according to a company statement.
Svanemyr worked at New Ventures West for 10 years as the director of enrollment where she mentored people who wanted to become integral coaches. Before moving to the Bay Area, Svanemyr worked as an integral counselor herself in Salt Lake City for a company called Big Mind.
Svanemyr was laying in the grass near the south end of Holly Park at about 2:20 p.m.yesterday with her infant daughter and their dog when a rec and park maintenance driver turned off the path and onto the grass, driving toward the family. He hit the woman and drove off as witnesses yelled at him to stop. Svanemyr was taken to San Francisco General Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Police tracked down the driver, 57-year-old Thomas Burnoski, who has been charged with vehicular manslaughter and felony hit and run. Burnoski has worked with the Rec and Park Department since 2006. Burnoski's 20-year-old daughter was reportedly killed in a car accident earlier this year.
Svanemyr is survived by her 11-month-old daughter,Isa, who was at the park when during the fatal incident but was unharmed, and her husband Vegar, who also worked at New Ventures West as communication's director, according to the company. She is also survived by her parents, George and Holly Moses, and her sister and brother-in-law, Suzanne and Chad Kanick.
Supervisor David Campos, who represents the District where Holly Park is located, released the following statement:
I was shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the killing of Christine Svanemyr yesterday in Holly Park. I, like the rest of the City, am dismayed and upset that a new mother was taken from her family in such a senseless way.
I have been in conversations with the General Manager of Rec and Parks and law enforcement for answers as to how this horrific event could have happened in a place where families and children expect to be safe and protected. I assure you that my office will do everything we can to get to the bottom of what happened and to ensure that there is accountability and transparency about this tragedy.
Any residents who may have witnessed the tragedy or who have surveillance video of the area should contact the Ingleside Police Station to help further the investigation.