A Tennessee father is furious after his deceased 17-year-old daughter was sent a bill to replace the very guardrail that killed her in November 2016.
Hannah Elmers was a “remarkable” teenager, according to her father. She graduated high school at just 15 years old and taught herself three languages.
But her life would come to a tragic end during an early morning drive on November 1, according to the Tennessean.
Hannah was driving her father’s Volvo on Interstate 75 North when something would go terribly wrong.
The Tennessean reported that something caused her car to drift too close to the center median, and soon her vehicle slammed into a guardrail — taking out “approximately 15 to 20 feet” of the barrier.
According to the Daily Mail, the “Lindsay X-LITE” guardrail was supposed to “collapse like a telescope” when struck by a vehicle — but that’s not what happened.
Instead, the guardrail pierced through the car. It hit Hannah in the head and chest, propelling her into the backseat and killing her instantly.
Hannah’s father, Stephen Eimers, was left in mourning after the tragic accident. But that grief would only be worsened by a piece of controversial mail delivered four months later.
According to USA Today, the Tennessee Department of Transportation sent the late teen a bill for nearly $3,000 to replace the very guardrail that caused her death.
Her father was “flabbergasted.” He told USA Today:
“I’m shocked, the audacity.”
The bill, which was in Hannah’s name, was meant to cover the cost of the roughly 25 feet of guardrail that was destroyed during the deadly accident — totaling $2,970.
A spokesperson for TDOT, Mark Nagi, quickly tried to remedy the incident. He said:
“That was a mistake. It never should have happened. We’ll take measures to make sure that never happens again.”
But that’s not TDOT’s only problem.
The “Lindsay X-LITE” guardrail model that was involved in Hannah’s accident had been removed from Tennessee Department of Transportation’s list of approved products just a week before her death, according to the Tennessean.
Officials were concerned with the guardrail’s collapsing mechanism when “impacted at higher speeds.”
At the time of the accident, TDOT had stopped installing the model on roads, but were leaving existing ones in place — an upsetting prospect for Stephen:
“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 they leave them in place.”
But following the backlash, TDOT seems to have changed their tune.
Starting on March 31, TDOT will start removing the defective models from roads with speed limits over 45 mph, according to the Tennessean.