Washington State Patrol troopers file carbon monoxide claims
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Five Washington State Patrol troopers have filed tort claims against the agency, saying officials knew and didn’t do enough about the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from faulty exhaust systems in their patrol cars.
Lawyer Josephine Townsend filed the $1 million claims on behalf of troopers Randall Cashatt, Austin Lauer, Jeffrey Heath, David Hodel and Brandon Kendall, KOIN-TV reported Wednesday. The claims could lead to lawsuits.
The state patrol put home carbon monoxide alarms inside the patrol vehicles. An inspection report from the state Department of Labor and Industries inspection deemed them inappropriate.
In July the state Department of Labor and Industries installed carbon monoxide detectors in the vehicles, which were triggered 50 times through the end of August for unsafe exposure to carbon monoxide, according to the report.
The vehicles also were taken to Ford dealerships where workers found exhaust problems, the report said. Ford said in a statement the problems were related to unsealed holes from police equipment installed by third parties.
Cashatt, who worked in the Columbia River Gorge area, said the carbon-monoxide-related symptoms he experienced and the time he spent in the patrol vehicle with inappropriate alarms left him with lasting health problems.
“Them knowingly putting me back in that car for one year ruined my career in law enforcement,” said Cashatt, who is currently on sick leave.
The Department of Labor and Industries subsequently cited the state patrol for three violations. The state patrol said in a statement that it is appealing because of the safety measures taken to protect troopers from carbon monoxide risk, KIRO-TV reported .
A Washington State Patrol spokeswoman described the situation as awful and said the agency is working to fix it.
Information from: KOIN-TV, http://www.koin.com/