State Bills Teen Killed in Car Crash for Damaged Guardrail

'I mean the audacity'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2017 3:25 PM CDT

(Newser) – Seventeen-year-old Hannah Eimers died in a fatal car crash last November in Tennessee. In February, the state sent her father a bill for the guardrail that killed her. "I mean the audacity," Stephen Eimers tells WATE. In an interview with WBIR, Eimers calls the bill for nearly $3,000 "tasteless" and "emotionally tone deaf." When Hannah Eimers' car left the road and crashed into the guardrail, it didn't crumple or redirect the car like it was supposed to, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. Instead, it punctured the car, slammed into Eimers, and pushed her into the backseat. She died instantly. Only a week earlier, the state had decided to stop using that specific type of guardrail over concerns about how it performed in crashes over 45mph. The speed limit on the road where Hannah Eimers died was 70mph.

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"Flabbergasted" by the bill to remove the damaged guardrail and install a new one, Stephen Eimers refused to pay it. The Tennessee Department of Transportation has since apologized for sending the bill, saying it was a "mistake somewhere in processing" and the family doesn't have to pay it. The department says it doesn't usually send bills in fatal accidents. But there are still a thousand of the guardrails that killed Hannah Eimers lining Tennessee roads, and Stephen Eimers wants them replaced, calling them "horribly designed." TDOT says it will be removing the guardrails from roads with speed limits greater than 45mph. (Read more car crash stories.)

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