Lawsuit filed against DHS, social worker for wrongful death of teen killed on I-380 last year

Denver Daniel Parvin
Denver Daniel Parvin

CEDAR RAPIDS Ė A lawsuit filed Tuesday by parents of a 16-year-old who got out of a social workerís car† and was struck and killed on I-380, claims the worker didnít follow department policy for transporting children who are a threat to themselves and others.

Angela Barton and Daniel Parvin, parents of Denver Parvin, filed the suit in Linn County District Court, asking for jury trial and compensation for the wrongful death of Denver. Steven Henderson, Department of Human Services social worker and the State of Iowa are named defendants in the suit.

Denver Parvin was being transported by Henderson March 8, 2010 from Daniel Parvinís home to Four Oaks Shelter in Independence under a Juvenile Court order, according to the suit. Denver Parvin threatened to jump from the northbound vehicle, which forced Henderson to pull over near the Urbana interchange, and Denver began walking into southbound traffic.

A vehicle driven by Daniel Levi, 36, of Nashua, in the southbound lane struck Denver and he died at the scene. Levi wasnít hurt in the accident, according to police.

Henderson had a conversation with Barton about the temporary placement of Denver before picking him up, according to the suit. Henderson said he would take the teen in a law enforcement vehicle to the shelter. Barton told him if he didnít take Denver in a law enforcement vehicle he would likely attempt to escape.

Denver had previously escaped from DHS workers in the past and had made threats to harm himself, including threats to jump out of vehicle, according to the suit.

During Hendersonís conversation with Barton, she also asked him not to take Denver to the Independence shelter because Denver was upset with a previous placement there, according to the suit. She asked for Denver to be taken to a temporary shelter in Cedar Rapids, so he could be closer to his home and family.

Henderson decided to take Denver to the Independence shelter without law enforcement, but had two Marion Police officers meet him at Parvinís home when he picked him up, according to the suit. Denver became upset and attempted to obtain a knife from the kitchen and told officers and Henderson he intended to kill himself.

Denver also told one of the officers multiple times to shoot him in the head and repeatedly yelled that he didnít want to be taken to the shelter with Henderson, the suit contends.

The policy of DHS concerning transporting minors is that law enforcement should be requested if the minor is a danger to himself or others, according to the lawsuit.

DHS could not be reached for comment Wednesday. The office had closed by the time this lawsuit was obtained.

Charles Krogmeier, director of the Iowa Department of Human Services, told the Gazette† a few days after the accident ďif thereís something to indicate that the individual is a danger to himself or others, then we could ask law enforcement to do the transport. But I donít think we had that here, from what I know.Ē

Krogmeier also said the department would conduct an internal investigation.The lawsuit claims Henderson and the state was negligent and caused the injuries and death of Denver Parvin and asks for compensation of loss to his estate because of premature death, interest on funeral and burial expenses and damages to Daniel Parvin and Barton.