116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Deputies from two counties were just pulling up to help a teenager on Monday afternoon when he stepped into traffic on Interstate 380, killing himself.
A 17-minute 911 tape released by the Benton County Sheriff's Office on Friday details the efforts by Buchanan and Benton county sheriff's deputies to help social worker Steve Henderson and 16-year-old Denver D. Parvin after Parvin got out of the social worker's car, threatening to kill himself.
Henderson called 911 and was connected to the Benton County dispatcher, who sent patrol cars from the two counties to Exit 41 on I-380, near Urbana.
Henderson told the dispatcher he was driving Parvin to the Four Oaks youth shelter in Independence when he had to pull over because Parvin was threatening to jump out of the car. Henderson pulled onto the interstate's shoulder and called 911 to ask law enforcement for assistance in completing the trip.
Henderson, who had been driving north on I-380, told the dispatcher the 16-year-old male was walking south in the northbound lanes of I-380. Parvin was walking on the shoulder and in the ditch, Henderson said.
The dispatcher asked Henderson if Parvin had a history of suicide threats. Henderson said he'd worked with the child for two years and there was “never any talk of suicide.”
Henderson then drove north to Exit 43, turned around and returned in the southbound lanes until he had Parvin in sight again.
He told the dispatcher that Parvin had walked onto the highway but returned to the shoulder, as the dispatcher reported a sheriff's deputy was “almost there.” A deputy reported northbound traffic was slowing.
As a deputy pulled up, the tape has someone yelling, “He just got hit.”
The dispatcher said she would send an ambulance, and the call ends.
Charles Krogmeier, director of the Iowa Department of Human Services, told The Gazette earlier this week that DHS is conducting an internal review of the incident and waiting for the investigative report from the Benton County Sheriff's Office.
He said the department had no plans to change its transport policy.
“We haven't seen anything that would tell us we should do anything different,” he said.
The incident, he said, was discussed briefly during the DHS Council's monthly meeting.
Krogmeier said he told council members that “our case worker is pretty shook up about it,” as was Parvin's family and Daniel Levi, 36, of Nashua, the driver of the vehicle that struck the youth.
“If there's something to indicate that the individual is a danger to himself or others, then we would ask law enforcement to do the transport,” he said. “But I don't think we had that here, from what I know.”
He noted that DHS case workers “transport a lot of kids.”
DHS policy states that service workers are to notify law enforcement if a child, during transport, attempts to run away. “Do not attempt to stop the child by physical force,” the policy reads.
The policy states that a lone service worker cannot transport any youth of the opposite sex who is over 12 years of age. The policy does not apply if a parent accompanies the worker and the child. “The use of volunteers is encouraged when an additional person is needed,” the policy states.
In Iowa, 911 tapes, in most cases, are public records.