Department of Transportation bills 17-year-old to repair guardrail that killed her
The Tennessee Department of Transportation accidentally sent a bill to a 17-year-old girl to repair a guardrail that killed her in a car crash last year.
Hannah Eimers was driving her father's Volvo on Nov. 1, 2016, when the car went off the road into the median then hit the guardrail on the driver's side, according to a Highway Patrol crash report obtained by the Knoxville News Sentinel.
The teen's father, Stephen Eimers, refused to pay the $3,000 bill mailed to him four months after Hannah's death.
He said he was "flabbergasted" the agency would "bill (his) daughter for the defective device that killed her."
"What bothers me is that they're playing Russian Roulette with people's lives," Eimers said. "They know these devices do not perform at high speeds and in situations like my daughter's accident, but leave them in place."
Guardrails are supposed to deflect cars or absorb the impact, but in this instance, the guardrail impaled the vehicle, according to the newspaper. Hannah was struck in the head and chest, and she died instantly.
The model of guardrail that Hannah hit was removed from the TDOT's list of approved products just a week ahead of Hannah's crash, according to WKRN. There were concerns about how "systems may perform if impacted at higher speeds" than roughly 62 mph.
Mark Nagi, a spokesperson for TDOT, told the Sentinel that the bill was sent due to a mistake, and the agency apologizes for the error.
He said the Eimers family will not have to pay the steep bill, which covers the cost of labor and materials to install 25 feet of guardrail at the site of the tragic accident.