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Teen Dies During Apprehension

March 10, 2010 permalink

Iowa teenager Denver Daniel Parvin died while being taken from his family to a foster home. He left the vehicle and was found dead by police fifteen minutes later. Iowa DHS says he died at the end of the fifteen minutes instead of the beginning, but there are no independent witnesses. Authorities have ruled the death a suicide, eliminating any need for further investigation.

We have heard the story before of a terrified child jumping from the social worker's car to instant death, but until now never in a form that could be repeated.

On another issue, this brings our count of foster deaths to 1401. Since passing the 1300 mark on November 15, there have been 21 more recent deaths, and 80 found in news archives.



Death of Teen Hit on I-380 Ruled a Suicide

URBANA - Benton County authorities say the state medical examiners office has ruled the death of Denver Parvin, 16, as a suicide.

Parvin jumped out of a stopped car along I-380 near the Urbana exit on Monday afternoon. He then walked along the interstate for 15 minutes, before stepping in front of a moving car.

Investigators determined the driver of the car had no chance to stop when Parvin walked in front of the vehicle.

The Iowa Department of Human Services confirmed it was a DHS worker driving Parvin to a youth shelter in Independence to fulfill a juvenile court order.

"The DHS employee attempted to prevent the tragedy... the accident. And he has provided a detailed sequence of events to law enforcement people who are continuing their investigation. It's obviously a tragedy not only for the victim and his family, but also the DHS employee on the scene," said DHS spokesperson Roger Munns.

Munns would not say how the teen got out of the car on the interstate, but county authorities did fill in those details.

Benton County Chief Deputy Mike Ferguson says Parvin threatened to jump out of the moving DHS employees car, so the worker was forced to pull over. That's when Parvin left the vehicle and started walking.

The worker called authorities for help. But the nearest deputy was north of Vinton and took nearly 15 minutes to make it to the scene.

Chief Deputy Ferguson says that deputy was just pulling up to the scene as Parvin was hit, but the deputy didn't actually see the accident.

Parvin’s father, Dan Parvin, told TV9 that “there is a lot I would like to talk about.” But Parvin declined to say any more at the moment saying he wanted to speak with a lawyer first. Parvin did add there are “things people need to know” (about the accident).

Source: KCRG-TV Cedar Rapids

Addendum: Iowa paid $400,000 compensation to Denver's family.



Iowa to pay $400K in boy's suicide

Iowa will pay $400,000 to the family of a troubled 16-year-old boy who escaped a social worker's car and committed suicide by walking into oncoming interstate traffic, according to records obtained by The Associated Press.

The State Appeals Board approved the payment Monday to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the estate of Denver Parvin of Cedar Rapids, and released settlement documents in response to a request by the AP.

On March 8, 2010, a Department of Human Services social worker was driving Parvin in a state vehicle from his home to be placed at a youth shelter in Independence in accordance with a juvenile court order. Parvin threatened to jump out, prompting the driver to pull over on the side of Interstate 380 near Urbana, about 20 miles north of Cedar Rapids, and call 911 for help completing the trip.

The DHS worker told the 911 dispatcher that Parvin got out of the car and was walking south alongside the northbound interstate, went underneath an overpass and stopped in a ditch before walking out into traffic. As deputies were arriving minutes later to try to corral him, Parvin was struck by a car and killed. An autopsy later ruled the cause of death suicide. The driver of the car that hit him, a 36-year-old man from Nashua, was not injured.

Parvin's lawsuit, filed in Linn County in May on behalf of his mother and father, contended the DHS employee did not follow department policy for transporting potentially dangerous persons when he failed to move him in a law enforcement vehicle. It said that DHS was aware that Parvin had made threats to harm himself and previously escaped other employees.

The lawsuit said the social worker took Parvin to the shelter without law enforcement's help despite a warning from his mother that he would likely try to escape. Two police officers accompanied the DHS social worker when he went to pick Parvin up. The boy then became upset, tried to grab a knife from the kitchen and told officers he intended to commit suicide, the lawsuit claimed. Parvin also told the officers to shoot him in the head and yelled that he didn't want to go to the shelter, according to the complaint.

It was not clear why the police officers did not accompany Parvin and the social worker to the juvenile facility.

During the 911 call, the social worker told the dispatcher he'd worked with Parvin for two years and the notion of suicide had never come up. Parvin's parents did not agree with his placement in the shelter, he added.

The settlement was reached after a September mediation session between attorneys representing Parvin's estate and DHS that cost taxpayers $1,460. The settlement, which avoids a trial that was set for Nov. 26, says the payment is a compromise to end the suit and not an admission of any wrongdoing.

"This was clearly a tragic incident," said Geoff Greenwood, a spokesman for the Iowa attorney general's office, which represented DHS in the lawsuit. "Based upon our evaluation of the case, as well as the risks and uncertainties of litigation, we felt that it was in the best interests of the state to settle the case."

According to his obituary, Parvin went by the nickname "Den," was a sophomore at Linn Mar High School and enjoyed sports, drawing, video games and music. The lawsuit had sought compensation for his death and funeral and burial expenses.

Brad Brady, the estate's attorney, did not return telephone messages. DHS spokesman Roger Munns had no immediate comment.

Source: Quad-City Times