Prosecutors filed felony manslaughter and hit-and-run charges Tuesday against 58-year-old Thomas Burnoski, the man who struck and killed 35-year-old Christine Svanemyr as she lay on the grass in Holly Park with her dog and 11-month-old daughter on September 5th. After a long investigation, prosecutors determined that Burnoski was acting recklessly when he decided to drive on the grass.
Prosecutors also accused Burnoski of purposefully fleeing the scene after the incident. Burnoski's defense attorneys, meanwhile, claimed he simply did not realize his mistake.
Burnoski turned himself in yesterday to face the charges leveled by the District Attorney's office. Although District Attorney Gascón didn't discuss what evidence led them to their conclusion, he told KTVU, "There's also another message here," aside from seeking justice for Svanemyr's family. ""That our parks need to be a safe place and this is one of those cases where none of this needed to happen."
According to one of Burnoski's attorney's, the Rec and Park employee felt a bump while driving, but saw a dog running away and assumed it was OK. There is no evidence that he was on any drugs or alcohol at the time. Burnoski is currently being held on $350,000 bail and will make his first court appearance today.