OBITUARIES : Robert Alioto, 54; Former San Francisco School Chief

Times Staff and Wire Reports

Former San Francisco Schools Supt. Robert F. Alioto was killed when his Porsche smashed into the rear of a tractor-trailer on U.S. 101 near Morgan Hill, the California Highway Patrol reported Friday.

Alioto was 54 and lived in Salinas. He was alone in his 1985 Porsche when it went out of control Thursday afternoon, the CHP said.

Alioto served as superintendent of San Francisco’s school system from 1975 until 1985, when he resigned in a series of policy disputes with members of the school board.


Witnesses reported that his car had been southbound on the highway at a high rate of speed when it swerved and went up an embankment. The car swerved back down, crossed all three southbound lanes and the center median strip, then went into northbound lanes, where it hit the truck.

One witness said Alioto appeared to be slumped over the wheel before his car struck the truck. The truck driver, Oscar Merritt, unsuccessfully attempted to avoid the car, said Diane Muhleman, a CHP spokeswoman in Gilroy.

Alioto, no relation to former San Francisco Mayor Joseph L. Alioto, was born in San Francisco and attended San Jose State and Harvard University. Before he was named superintendent in San Francisco, he served as chief of the Yonkers, N.Y., school system.