TDOT bills dead teen for damaging guardrail that killed her

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has apologized to a Loudon County man for sending his dead daughter a bill for nearly $3,000 to replace the guardrail that killed her in a car crash last November, reports The Tennessean.

In addition to refusing to pay the bill, Steven Eimers alleges the model of guardrail end involved in his daughter Hannah’s death is “horribly designed” and dangerous, and that “the culture at TDOT is more concerned with making up catchy slogans than actual safety.”

TDOT spokesman Mark Nagi said the bill was the result of “a mistake somewhere in processing,” and that TDOT “greatly apologizes for it.” The Eimers family does not have to pay, and another letter is being sent to explain the error, Nagi said.

Around 5:44 a.m. Nov. 1, Hannah Eimers, 17, was driving her father’s 2000 Volvo S80 on Interstate 75 North near Niota when the car left the road, traveled into the median and hit the end of the guardrail with the driver’s side door, according to a Tennessee Highway Patrol crash report.

Instead of deflecting the car or buckling to absorb the impact, the guardrail end impaled the vehicle, striking Hannah in the head and chest and pushing her into the back seat, according to the report. She died instantly.

The Volvo spun to the right anred “took out approximately 15 to 20 feet of guardrail” before it skidded to a stop…  Four months later, Hannah’s father received a $2,970 bill from TDOT, dated Feb. 24 and addressed to Hannah, for the cost of labor and materials to install 25 feet of guardrail at the scene of the crash.

Eimers said he was “flabbergasted” that TDOT would “bill my daughter for the defective device that killed her.”

The guardrail end Hannah hit was a Lindsay X-LITE — a model that TDOT had removed from its approved products list just one week (before her death)r…. due to concerns “about how the telescoping w-beam, slider assembly friction reduction systems may perform if impacted at higher speeds” than 100 kph or 62.2 mph.

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