November 16, 2013: The Philadelphia District Attorneys Office has charged 43 year old Manuel Coque with Attempted Theft by Deception, and Insurance Fraud.
Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit (IFU) investigated Manuel Coque after receiving a referral from SEPTA. On October 20, 2010, the SEPTA route 23 bus was stopped at the intersection of Germantown and Glenwood Avenues where it was discharging passengers. While the bus was stopped, a red van pulled in front of the bus and blocked it from resuming its route. The driver of the red van reported that the route 23 bus had struck and damaged his driver’s side mirror as the two vehicles passed each other while traveling in opposite directions on Germantown Avenue. The operator of the Route 23 bus did not believe he ever made contact with the red van. The red van’s mirror appeared to be cracked, but the bus had no damage. Despite the driver’s lack of perceived contact, SEPTA’s rules of operation required that he hand out incident forms to the passengers on the bus at the time of the alleged incident. The operator stated that no passengers reported being injured.
Coque subsequently retained counsel to file a claim against SEPTA for personal injuries which he claimed he sustained while he was a passenger on the SEPTA route 23 bus. Coque’s counsel alleged that the bus left the scene of an accident and then was chased down by the driver of the red van. Counsel further stated that the van then cut off the bus, causing it to stop suddenly, thus injuring passengers. Coque’s counsel sought compensation for back injuries as well as for damages to the nerves, muscles, ligaments and bones. Goode’s counsel submitted medical bills for over seven thousand dollars, in addition to demanding fifty thousand dollars compensation for alleged pain and suffering.
IFU detectives reviewed video surveillance footage from the route 23 bus that was recorded at the time of the incident. The video footage shows the red van pulling in front of the bus as well as the moment when the two vehicles pass each other on Germantown Avenue. The detectives could not determine whether there had been contact between the two vehicles. However, the video shows that the bus never made any sudden or unusual movements; it did not jerk, swerve or suddenly slow down and no passengers seem to be affected throughout the course of the video.
Manuel Coque was arrested for Insurance Fraud and Attempted Theft by Deception on November 16, 2013. He is next listed for a status hearing on November 22, 2013 in Philadelphia Municipal Court.
ADA Dawn Farrell and Detective Karl Supperer of the IFU are specially assigned to this case.