Father of teen killed in crash speaks to House committee about g - WSMV News 4

Father of teen killed in crash speaks to House committee about guardrail dangers

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(WSMV file photo) (WSMV file photo)

A Loudon County man is asking if the state could have done something to prevent his daughter's death. He spoke at legislative plaza Tuesday about the guardrails involved in his daughter's death.

"How in the world do you leave a known deadly unit, a device they have said is not performing properly, how do you leave that on the roadway and play Russian Roulette with other people's lives?" asked Stephen Eimers of Loudon County. "How do you do that? That is unconscionable."

Eimers' support team was a large family, generations of loved ones, gathered to listen to his speech Tuesday to the House Transportation Committee.

Eimers' daughter, Hannah, was a 17-year-old who loved photography, one of 10 children, six adopted.

"Unfortunately, I'm not here to talk about how she lived, but how she died," Eimers told the committee.

Eimers said in November his daughter's car hit the end of a guardrail, which speared through her vehicle.

"Her injuries were catastrophic," he said. "Her death was instant. Our world as we knew it was over. Many nights I have woken up abruptly with a guardrail headed toward my face."

Eimers' story became known when TDOT billed the family $3,000 to replace the guardrail. TDOT has since apologized and called the billing a mistake.

"Safety is more than winning advertising awards for your catchy billboard slogans," Eimers said.

Eimers said his work now is to warn others about Lindsay X-Lite guardrails.

"Four people are dead in Tennessee because of the horrific performance of the Lindsay X-Lite," he said. "They removed the device from the qualified products list before my daughter's death."

With Eimers was the family of Lauren Beutell who said she was killed in Cumberland County last year when a guardrail also went through that car.

A representative for TDOT told Channel 4 they were awarded four regional contracts Monday, and they are looking to replace 1,800 of those guardrails statewide. The representative said the replacement will cost between $3.5 and $4 million.

While speaking to the committee, Eimers pushed for independent inspections of safety device installations not connected to TDOT, the installation contractor or the manufacturer.

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