Hannah Eimers was killed when a Lindsay X-LITE impaled her car, striking her in the head and chest. (Photo: WBIR)
At least four people in Tennessee have been killed in crashes involving a controversial model of guardrail endcap since 2016, per state records. At the center of this controversy is the Lindsay X-LITE guardrail terminal, which TDOT removed from their approved list of devices back in October 2016, citing “concerns about potential long-term performance issues” when struck at speeds greater than 45 mph. Guardrail terminals are designed to redirect the end of the rail away from cars in the event of a crash. However, some are raising concerns that thousands of devices installed on Tennessee roads can malfunction, skewering the car.
Questions of the X-LITE s safety came to light after Hannah Eimers struck one in the early morning hours of Nov. 1. The 17-year-old was driving along I-75 North in McMinn County when her vehicle left the road. The guard rail impaled the car, striking Eimers in the head and chest. She died instantly, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol crash report.
The bill Hannah’s parents recieved after her death, for the damage to the guard rail on I-75 in McMinn Co. (Photo: WBIR)
“That bill was tasteless,” Stephen Eimers said. “But the real travesty is that TDOT knew that they had a dangerous device on the road. They left it in place and it killed my daughter. And those devices are still on this road today.”
Hannah’s father, Stephen Eimers, recieved a bill for nearly $3000 from TDOT following his daugher’s fatal crash. (Photo: WBIR)
TDOT has apologized for the “processing error,” and said the family does not need to pay the bill. Stephen Eimers told 10News has is now represented by the law firm Cohen Milstein and is considering legal action.
The department estimates about 1,000 Lindsay X-LITEs are installed statewide. At least 3 other people have been killed in crashes where the X-Lite penetrated their vehicle in the last 15 months, according to TDOT spokesman Mark Nagi and data from the Tennessee Department of Homeland Safety and Security. On June 29, 2016, two people were killed on I-40 E in Cumberland County after an X-LITE penetrated their vehicle.
On July 2, 2016, one person was killed near the I-75/I-24 interchange in Hamilton County. Again, an X-LITE terminal pierced the vehicle. In both cases, the damaged rail was replaced with another X-LITE terminal, Nagi said. After Hannah Eimers’ death, and SKT-SP was installed. The X-LITE is not the only guard rail terminal used in Tennessee with a questionable safety record. In 2015, Trinity Industries lost a $663 million lawsuit involved the ET Plus rail endcap. The company was accused of modifying the design without notifying the Federal Highway Administration. Critics said the change made the caps more dangerous, and more likely to impale a car that struck them.
An ET Plus guard rail on I-75. The company that makes the ET Plus lost a $663 million lawsuit in 2015, following claims the devices were not safe. (Photo: WBIR)
This led Virginia to implement a risk-based assessment program to replace terminals that might contribute to more severe crashes. VDOT found four vehicles that had been pierced by modified ET Plus terminals from October 2014 to July 2015. TDOT estimates 21,000 ET Plus endcaps are installed statewide. Any number of them could be the modified design. TDOT has decided to remove any X-LITE devices installed on roads with a speed limit of 45 miles per hour or greater. This is most of the terminals, Nagi said.
The bidding for this contract will begin March 31. Nagi was not able to give a cost estimate or timeline for the project, though he anticipates work may begin in late spring to early summer.
Grieving family billled for guardrail in fatal wreck
William J. Dowd [email protected] @WJD_MHDReporter
The Second Corps Cadets Veterans Association will mark a milestone come Saturday: The 380th Anniversary of the first military muster in the United States right here in Salem, the birthplace of the National Guard. And the association s pulling out all the stops to mark the occaison, starting off with a ceremony in St. Peter s Church and ending with a late-morning cannon salute in Salem Common.
This year we are honored to have the Chief of the Guard Bureau, 4-star General Joseph Lengyel, attending, said Salem Veterans Agent Kim Emerling. There will be many active guard units, mounted Lancers, re-enactors, several veterans groups, as well as a howitzer salute. Lengyel, the guest of honor, serves as the 28th chief of the National Guard Bureau and as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And in that role, he advises the president, secretary of defense, National Security Council among others, according to his biography. He is also directly charged with ensuring over 453,000 Army and Air National Guard personnel are accessible, capable and ready to protect the homeland.
The guard s foundation was Dec. 13, 1636. On that date, the General Court s members organized militia companies across three regions across Massachusetts Bay Colony: North, South and East.
The colonists had adopted the English militia system, which obligated all males, between the ages of 16 and 60, to possess arms and participate in the defense of the community, reads a pamphlet from Emerling. The early colonial militia drilled once a week and provided guard details each evening to sound the alarm in case of attack. And the first drill – or muster – took place in Salem Common in 1637. It s that moment – the exact date is unknown – that will be celebrated Saturday. Former congressman John Tierney sponsored a bill that was passed in Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in 2013, officially establishing Salem as the birthplace of the National Guard.
Saturday s exercises kick off at 9:30 a.m. in St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 24 St. Peter St., with a wreath-laying ceremony. The church, according to Destination Salem, is significant as a place of remembrance for the Second Corps as their founder, Stephen Abbott, is buried there.
Observances will continue at Armory Park on Essex Street across from the Peabody Essex Museum with another ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Participants will then march to Salem Common, where a commemoration of the first muster will be held at 11:30 a.m., featuring a pass in review and a cannon salute.
This is one of the great events in Salem that connects us to our past, and our place in America’s history, said Salem City Councilor Josh Turiel, a former participant, in a statement encouraging folks to come out. We should all use this opportunity to remember how the country started, and the ideals of the brave people who mustered to defend their home.
If it weren’t for the association with the thrill of travel, the airport security line might be one of the least appealing places to be on earth with all of its rules, restrictions, and indignities. Perhaps knowing a bit more of the behind-the-scenes minutiae will help enliven your next experience. At the very least, it makes for excellent cocktail party trivia among the jet set.
1. Got a question about your carry-on? You can tweet the TSA.
We’ve already discussed the comedy gold that is the TSA’s Instagram feed and its occasional forays into tragedy as poignantly illustrated by this abandoned teddy bear. However, if you have a serious question about the legalities of certain items in your carry on and don’t want to cause a scene in the security line, you can simply AskTSA on Twitter where they will give you the go-ahead on some items such as “delicious bacon” to a hard no for others, such as “Satan’s pizza cutter.”
2. Some surprising (and sharp) items are actually allowed through.
For obvious reasons, box cutters and knives are banned, but there are some sharp items the TSA will let through, including scissors with blades no more than four inches long and ice skates which is surely asking for trouble given the temperment of some ice skaters.
3. There is a neat trick for getting your drink through.
As we learned earlier this year, there’s no need to purchase an overpriced drink at the airport if you can bring your own with you. All you have to do is freeze it! However, if the words “frozen drinks” have you immediately reaching for a frozen daiquiri, disappointment awaits. Per the TSA s own language: Frozen liquid items are allowed through the checkpoint as long as they are frozen solid when presented for screening. That means no slushies, alas. Also, you’re not allowed to bring any alcoholic drinks on board: FAA regulations say that “no person may drink any alcoholic beverage aboard an aircraft unless the certificate holder operating the aircraft has served that beverage to him.”
4. Some food items show up as explosives.
Sausages as confirmed by the helpful AskTSA account are perfectly acceptable in your carry on. But, you should take them and any cheese you may be harboring out of your bag before putting it through the X-ray machine. According to Reader’s Digest, “the signature of these items is indistinguishable from explosives.”
5. Taking photos is sometimes OK.
As long as you re not interfering with the screening process, slowing things down, or filming or taking pictures of the monitors, the TSA does not prohibit anyone from photographing, videotaping, or filming at screening locations. However, the local laws of the city’s airport may do. So, if you really want a photographic souvenir of your security line experience, call ahead to ask.
6. Airline employees face less screening than you.
The TSA requires background checks on anyone applying for an airline or airport job, but they can still bypass the screening other passengers go through. Four months after federal authorities discovered that a baggage handler was part of a ring that smuggled guns from Atlanta to New York, the TSA announced increased “random and unpredictable screening of aviation workers at various airport access points to mitigate potential security vulnerabilities. However, last spring the former TSA administrator said that only Atlanta, Miami, and Orlando have thorough worker vetting in place.
- ^ indignities (www.bravotv.com)
- ^ already discussed (www.bravotv.com)
- ^ abandoned teddy bear (www.bravotv.com)
- ^ AskTSA (twitter.com)
- ^ “delicious bacon” (www.instagram.com)
- ^ “Satan’s pizza cutter.” (www.instagram.com)
- ^ ice skates (www.tsa.gov)
- ^ the temperment (people.com)
- ^ ice skaters (www.youtube.com)
- ^ we learned (www.bravotv.com)
- ^ language (apps.tsa.dhs.gov)
- ^ FAA regulations say (www.law.cornell.edu)
- ^ confirmed (www.instagram.com)
- ^ Reader’s Digest (www.rd.com)
- ^ the TSA does not prohibit (blog.tsa.gov)
- ^ smuggled guns (www.reuters.com)
- ^ TSA announced (www.washingtonpost.com)
- ^ TSA administrator said (www.politico.com)
- ^ Like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com)