Woman sues Penn, driver over 38th and Spruce crash


Natasha Mitchum's arbitration proceedings deal with an accident that injured three Penn students


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Photo by Amanda Suarez


The driver of a car involved in an accident that injured three Penn students is bringing the University and another driver to court for alleged negligence.

Natasha Mitchum’s arbitration lawsuit, which was filed on April 17, deals with an accident at the intersection of 38th and Spruce streets on Feb. 22, 2013 at about 9:15 p.m., which sent three female students to the hospital.

Mitchum is suing Penn and Thomas Parviskhan, a Penn employee who she alleges was the driver of the other vehicle in the accident.

According to the complaint filed by  Mitchum’s attorney, Mitchum was heading southbound on 38th Street when she drove past a green light into the intersection. Parviskhan, who was driving a Penn-owned vehicle northbound on 38th Street, turned left into the intersection against the right of way, the complaint alleges. It also claims that Parviskhan’s vehicle hit Mitchum’s on the back of the driver’s side.

Due to the impact, Mitchum’s car then spun counterclockwise until stopping on the southwest corner sidewalk of the intersection where it hit several pedestrians, the complaint says.

Mitchum claims that Penn allowed Parviskhan to drive his Penn-owned vehicle recklessly and at high speeds, and that Penn failed to train Parviskhan to operate the vehicle.

As a result of injuries from the accident, Mitchum claimed she had to spend “large sums of money” on medical expenses. She is requesting a sum of $50,000 or less in the arbitration claims she filed against Penn and Parviskhan, according to court documents.

Mitchum, Parviskhan and the University, as well as a man named Gregory James, are also all being sued in a separate lawsuit filed on April 16 by a woman named Maura Weber. It is currently unclear whether Weber was one of the three Penn students injured in the accident on Feb. 22, 2013. Weber is asking for over $50,000 in a jury trial, according to court records.

Parviskhan, the University, Mitchum’s attorney, Weber and Weber’s attorney could not be reached for comment on Wednesday night.

At the time of the Feb. 22 accident, a witness told The Daily Pennsylvanian that he saw a car driving southbound on 38th Street when it hit the students.

The accident, which the Division of Public Safety said occurred at approximately 9:07 p.m., was the second to occur at 38th and Spruce streets that day. Earlier that day, a female driver knocked down a traffic signal after she lost control of her car while she was turning onto 38th Street from Spruce Street.

The 38th and Spruce intersection has historically been one of the more dangerous intersections on campus. The intersection saw 25 crashes between Jan. 1, 2013 and Oct. 14, 2013, 12 of which were state-reportable — meaning that someone was either taken to the hospital or a vehicle was towed.

In order to make the intersection safer, the Philadelphia Streets Department has planned to install bumpouts — segments of sidewalk protruding into the street designed to improve intersection safety.

While the bumpouts were set to be installed by the end of 2013, the Streets Department has twice delayed construction of the safety installation. According to a DP article from January, construction is set to begin this summer.

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