L & I moves to slash wounded guard's benefits

by: Chris Halsne, KIRO 7 Investigates Updated:

SEATTLE - The 1991 cold case murder and robbery of a Loomis armored car at the Lynnwood Fred Meyer continues to have lingering effects today -- not just for the murdered driver Peter Berg’s family, who lost their father and husband, but for the man who survived the horrific violence.


"Mentally, I have had a hard time dealing with everybody; mentally, from the shooting on, it's been horrible," Jeffery Pease told KIRO 7 Investigative Reporter Chris Halsne.


Not only does Pease have mental health issues after the attack, he also has physical health problems stemming from various gunshot wounds to his back, legs and face.


Since the attack, his health needs have been met through a complex system managed by state Labor and Industries. Because the shooting was on the job, Pease says he never felt right suing Loomis, Fred Meyer, or any of their insurers. He subsists largely on a permanent work-related disability payment from the state.


However just this year, he was told his therapy and medications would no longer be covered by L&I. That agency also told him they were going to lower his monthly disability payments.


"Once you become fixed and stable, which means you're as good as they can fix you up, hit the bricks pal, see you. Have a good life. That's the state of Washington," Pease told Halsne from his rural Wyoming cabin.


After hearing the news that L&I thought mental health medications were no longer necessary, Pease's psychiatrist sent state officials a letter pleading on his behalf. The letter stated that being without certain medications for just a week "nearly killed" Pease.


We called L&I on his behalf and employees there were unwilling to speak about his case with us, citing privacy laws, this, despite Pease's consent.


Hector Castro from L&I media relations did tell us the department is reviewing his case based on issued KIRO 7 raised after numerous calls.


Castro also told us KIRO 7 would not be told of any information regarding the review.


Pease hopes L&I reconsiders after his appeals.


"You'd think, if anyone earned the right to keep their benefits from an on the job injury, that'd be me."