Firefighter sues department over blame in Asiana crash death

24-year-veteran claims she is a "scapegoat" in the death of teen crash survivor

In the fallout from last summer's Asiana Airlines crash in San Francisco, there's a whole lot of finger-pointing, and not a whole lot of people willing to take responsibility for the three passengers who died.

A firefighter has filed a lawsuit against the San Francisco Fire Department, claiming that she was made a scapegoat and falsely identified as the driver of the rig that fatally struck a teenage survivor after the crash.

Firefighter sues over being blamed in SFO Asiana crash death

16-year-old Ye Meng Yuan survived the fiery crash at San Francisco International Airport on July 6, but was killed when she was run over by two rigs as she lay on the ground near the aircraft's left wing.

According to firefighter Elyse Duckett, a 24-year veteran of the fire department, she was made a "sacrifical lamb" in fire officials' investigation of the accident, which singled her out and blamed her for Ye's death. Duckett says that by the time she arrived on the scene, Ye had already been killed by another fire rig, and her body obscured by flame-retardant foam.

The San Mateo County Coroner's Office determined that Ye was alive before being struck by the rigs, but an autopsy report did not say which rig killed her.

Duckett's suit says fire officials blamed her for Ye's death, even though they knew that the other rig, driven by firefighter Jimmy Yee, had been the first to hit the girl.

Fire officials singled out Duckett because as an African American lesbian and single mother, she does not fit into the "fraternal" Fire Department, Roy said.

"She doesn't travel in packs," Roy said. "There is only one African American lesbian. ... So what do you do? You pick on the weaker, smaller group."

Fire Department officials subjected Duckett to a "surprise interrogation" at which they tried to pin Ye's death on her and later leaked her name to the media, the suit says.

Duckett's lawsuit asks that the fire department acknowledge that she did nothing wrong and identify whoever leaked her name to the media. She is also seeking $300,000 in damages.

More here: San Francisco firefighter a 'scapegoat' in death of Asiana passenger: lawsuit

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