February 6, 2013: The District Attorney’s Office has charged 25-year-old Ashantai Pate and 46-year-old Timothy Barton with Insurance Fraud, Attempted Theft by Deception, and Conspiracy. On February 17, 2011, Ashantai Pate of the 2100 block of Gould Street and Timothy Barton of the 1700block of Wagner Street were passengers on the SEPTA Route 12 bus as it traveled southbound on 23rd Street. As the bus pulled into the Spruce Street transit stop, a passing truck made contact with the bus’ driver-side exterior mirror, causing the glass to break out of the frame. The operator of the Route 12 bus at the time of the incident reported no further damage to the bus and the truck involved sustained no damage whatsoever. Philadelphia Fire Rescue did not respond to the incident nor did any passengers claim injuries at that time. Furthermore, the operator of the Route 12 bus was able to continue his route less than an hour after the incident occurred.
Although no passengers initially reported injuries, both Pate and Barton later filed claims against SEPTA for this incident. SEPTA referred this case to detectives in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit who reviewed recorded video surveillance footage from the Route 12 bus. The video shows that the truck passed the bus to the left and made contact with the bus’ exterior side view mirror, which caused the glass to shatter. The video further reveals that both Pate and Barton were on the bus at the time of the occurrence. The two defendants can be seen talking to each other throughout the course of the ride and continue their conversation as the incident occurs without any change in disposition. They remain undisturbed as the truck makes minor contact with the bus.
Despite an obvious lack of injuries, both Pate and Barton filed claims against SEPTA and Gallagher Bassett Services INC, the third party administrator representing the other vehicle involved in this accident. Barton provided Pate with contact information for an attorney who initially represented both defendants. Both defendants sought treatment at the same medical center. Pate’s medical records cite back injuries and indicate that she reported that the force of the incident caused her to jerk sideways and slam against the window. Pate received treatment from March 2011 to August of 2011 and presented SEPTA with medical bills totaling over $5,000. Barton’s medical records note that he complained of headaches and neck and back pain as a result of whiplash suffered during the incident. Barton received treatment 39 times between February and July of 2011 and he presented SEPTA with medical bills totaling over $6,000. After reviewing the SEPTA Route 12 bus surveillance footage, which shows that no injuries occurred during the minor incident, detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office’s Insurance Unit arrest the defendants. Both Barton and Pate are next scheduled to appear in Philadelphia Municipal Court on February 12, 2013.