TDOT bills dead teen $3,000 following crash

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LOUDON COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A Loudon County father who lost his daughter in a car crash said she would be alive today if it wasn't for the guardrail she hit.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation acknowledged the guardrails are unsafe and has started to correct the problem.

Hannah Eimers was just 17 years old and had her whole life ahead of her.

"She was remarkable," her father Stephen said. "She graduated at the age of 15. She was self-taught German, Russian and American Sign Language."

Her life ended last November on Interstate 75 near Niota when her car left the roadway and hit a guardrail. Her dad said the yellow and black piece on the end of the guardrail isn't safe, and TDOT knows it.

"TDOT knew this was dangerous and that it wasn't performing well," he said. "They should have removed it, but their policy was to leave it on the road, playing Russian roulette with people's lives."

There are currently 1,000 similar end pieces on Tennessee roadways.
Late Friday afternoon, TDOT told Local 8 News Anchor Lauren Davis they will be removing the X-LITE end terminals in speed zones over 45 miles per hour, which covers most of the 1,000 guardrails similar to the ones Hannah struck.

"We don't believe that product is working properly, so we're going to be taking it off of our system," TDOT Spokesperson Mark Nagi said.

On top of that, four months after the accident, TDOT accidentally sent Hannah a $3,000 bill for damaging the guardrail.

"They had the audacity to send us a bill in her name for $3,000 for killing her," her father said.

Mark Nagi said the bill was sent out due to an error in processing, and that TDOT was very sorry for it. Nagi said Eimers would not have to pay the bill.

"That was a mistake," said Nagi. "It never should have happened. We'll take measures to make sure that never happens again."

The guardrails similar to the one that Hannah struck will be changed. Stephen said he's happy TDOT is changing them, he just wishes they had changed them sooner.