Hannah Eimers, 17, was driving her father’s car in November when she lost control of the vehicle and slammed into a guardrail on the driver’s side, killing her. As if her family hadn’t already lost enough in the passing of their daughter, Eimers’ father received a bill from the Tennessee Department of Transportation to replace the guardrail that failed to save her life.
Stephen Eimers got the $3,000 bill four months after Hannah’s death but refused to pay it and called the model of the guardrail “horribly designed.” He was “flabbergasted” that the state would “bill my daughter for the defective device that killed her.”
Rather than deflecting the car or absorbing its impact, the faulty guardrail, which was removed from the department’s list of approved products a week before the crash, impaled the vehicle and struck Hannah in the head and chest, killing her instantly.
“I’m shocked,” Eimers said. “The audacity. What bothers me is that they’re playing Russian Roulette with people’s lives. They know these devices do not perform at high speeds and in situations like my daughter’s accident, but leave them in place.”
Mark Nagi, a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Transportation, insists that the bill was sent as a result of a “mistake somewhere in processing,” adding that the agency “greatly apologizes for it.” He also said that the Eimers will not have to pay the bill, which covered both the cost of labor and materials.