Seattle/ Health & Lifestyle
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Published on March 01, 2024
Bellevue Police Officer Set to Lose Medical Benefits After Motorcade AccidentSource: Facebook/Bellevue, WA Police Department

In a twist of fate almost as dramatic as the fall that injured him, Bellevue Police Officer Kevin Bereta is set to lose his medical benefits after a harrowing accident while on duty. Bereta, a motorcycle officer, was providing security for Vice President Kamala Harris' motorcade on August 15, when he was thrown off the Michigan Street bridge, plummeting 60 feet onto the interstate below. The officer's recovery time is ticking down as the six-month health coverage provided through the police union's contract is due to expire.

As reported by KIRO 7, Bereta's attorney, Mo Hamoudi, highlights the gravity of the officer's injuries, stating, "You got to understand he fell off a bridge, a 60-foot bridge." Bereta spent roughly a month in the hospital with extensive injuries including fractured bones, torn ligaments, and spinal cord damage. Now facing a financially daunting reality, Bereta and his family must look to Cobra Alternative Health Insurance as day 181 approaches, an expensive shift hard to shoulder for Bereta's family with three young children and his wife working part-time.

Accusations of the city's lack of support in the difficult times following the accident were brought forward by Bereta's legal representation. "He has to go out and ask for handouts to support his family. It’s just absurd," said attorney Mo Hamoudi, according to FOX 13 Seattle. The lawyers emphasized the urgency of finding a solution for Bereta, who is struggling daily with his recovery from crippling injuries.

The City of Bellevue responded, underscoring their procedure to work with injured employees to maximize the retention of benefits and their reliance on community partners when standard policies fall short. However, Mo Hamoudi pointed out to KIRO 7 that Bereta's physicians deem even part-time light duty unsafe, leaving him in a precarious position of being unable to work to maintain his health coverage and not at risk of reinjuring himself. This situation is "quite absurd," according to Hamoudi.

Doubt is cast over the city's efforts to support their ailing officer as Karen Koehler, another attorney representing Bereta from the Stritmatter Firm, accused the city of being "callously and shamefully" neglectful in their handling of Officer Bereta's circumstances. Telling the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH, Koehler points out that the guard rail Bereta flew over was only 27 inches high – insufficient to prevent the devastating accident that the officer still grapples with. As Bereta's future looms with uncertainty and hardship, the dealings of the city of Bellevue remain under critical scrutiny.