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
GUEST SPEAKER Jeff Sandy, Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety cabinet secretary, spoke at the March 15 Weirton Rotary Club meeting. — Contributed
WEIRTON Jeff S. Sandy, West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety cabinet secretary, spoke about the state economy and balancing a $33 million budget that is divided among the West Virginia State Police, state prison system, West Virginia National Guard and state fire marshals during the Weirton Rotary Club s March 15 meeting. Sandy is a 1976 Parkersburg High School graduate, a 1979 Marshall University graduate and a 1980 Federal Law Enforcement Training Center graduate with a designation of special agent with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Criminal Investigations Division. He is designated as a certified fraud examiner and a certified anti-money laundering specialist. From 1982 to 1993, he was assigned to the Presidential Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force in the Northern Judicial District of West Virginia. Sandy received the Attorney General Award, West Virginia U.S. Treasury Employee of the Year and Mid-Ohio Valley Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. In 1991, he became the first West Virginia law enforcement officer to be nationally recognized as an expert in the field of money laundering. He has trained federal, state, county and local law enforcement officers, and was selected to train dignitaries from Russia and the Baltic countries in the field of money laundering. In 1993, he accepted the supervisory special agent position for the Southern Judicial District of West Virginia in Charleston. By 1996, his group was recognized as one of the top agencies in the U.S. in a major university study. In 2000, Attorney General Janet Reno and U.S. Attorney Rebecca Betts commended his office for their investigative work on the Keystone Bank failure.
After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Office of the Secretary of the Treasury designated Sandy as the special agent in charge of the security of a secure facility in the eastern U.S. for 24 days. Sandy volunteered to work on counter-terrorism efforts and worked in Baghdad, Iraq, and Doha, Qatar. He received the honor award from Secretary of the Treasury John Snow and the Department of Defense achievement medal for his investigative work in the Middle East. Sandy cited one of his proudest career moments as when he secured the cooperation of Tariq Aziz, the deputy prime minister of Iraq, and when the U.S. Department of Defense and United States Army Major General Keith W. Dayton said the following about his work in Baghdad: Agent Sandy participated in dangerous, high stress missions to meet with sources that resulted in actionable intelligence. He conducted a financial investigation of the sale of billions of dollars of Iraqi oil throughout the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia. Agent Sandy used all legal means to freeze the former Iraqi regime s assets and protect them from being used by terrorists.
In 2005, he became a member of the U.S. Department of Justice State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training Program. Sandy has been involved in the training of more than 146,000 law enforcement officers in 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. He has guest lectured for the Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces, West Virginia State Police and Fusion Center and dozens of state, county, and local law enforcement agencies. Sandy was elected sheriff of Wood County in 2008. Sandy modernized modernized the office with new investigative techniques and equipment; established an intelligence unit; and started intelligence-based policing. While sheriff, he was selected by Gov. Joe Manchin to serve on the Board of the Regional Jail Authority and was elected Regional Jail Board chair in 2012. He also served on the Board of the West Virginia Sheriff s Association. In 2012, he was named the Marshall University Distinguished Alumnus of the year. In May 2015, he was selected as a speaker at the 10th-annual National Anti-Terrorism Conference in Orlando. He is the author of a training manual for law enforcement, Trace It, that has been provided free of charge to more than 85,000 law enforcement officers in the U.S.
Sandy is married to Renee Moffit of Akron, Ohio, and they have three children.
Charleston, West Virginia
2:18 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Hello, West Virginia! It is great to be back, if only just to say thanks. Thanks to your hard work, your support, and your prayers — West Virginia voted overwhelmingly to make Donald Trump the 45th President of the United States — and we will never forget it. (Applause.)
Let me thank our host today — Ronald Reagan Foster and Nancy Reagan Foster. I just said a little bit ago they re my second favorite Ron and Nancys I’ve ever met. (Applause.) I want to thank them. I want to thank the whole Foster s Supply team and all the great employees who came out today. You ve been building this state and building the American Dream since 1981.
In fact, Ron, I just heard that you have a wall division here at Foster s. Maybe we need to talk. (Applause.)
What you do and what you ve done here since 1981 is what makes this country great. And the President and I are truly grateful for you and for all the good people who are part of the Foster Supply team and all the neighbors and friends who ve gathered here today to stand with us. Give yourselves a round of applause for coming out on a Saturday afternoon. (Applause.) We couldn’t be more grateful
And Congressman Evan Jenkins, thank you for being with us. We’re so grateful for your support. And to Congressman Alex Mooney, thank you for your service to this country. It is great to be in your district. (Applause.) It truly is.
You know, it is so humbling for me to stand before you today in this role. I’m just a small-town guy from southern Indiana. My grandfather immigrated to this country, and to think that I had the privilege to raise my right hand on January 20th and accept the oath of office to serve as the 48th Vice President of the United States is the greatest privilege of my life. And let me just say, on behalf of my whole family, thank you, West Virginia, for giving us the opportunity to serve. (Applause.)
I’ll tell you, it is the greatest privilege of my life to be Vice President to President Donald Trump. President Trump is my friend. He loves his family and he loves this country, with boundless energy, optimism, courage and determination. And let me be clear on one thing — President Donald Trump is going to be the best friend American small business will ever have. (Applause.)
That s why he picked Linda McMahon to lead the Small Business Administration. Isn’t she amazing? (Applause.) Linda McMahon knows an awful lot about small business. Linda and her husband started their company as a small business back in the 1970s, as Titan Sports, and they built it into an international entertainment enterprise — the WWE. Any fans in the house? (Applause.) I’m one. Now she s bringing that great business experience to building a business to help small businesses across America grow and thrive.
You know, Linda, we’re grateful for your leadership. But maybe we could have used a few of your WWE superstars on Capitol Hill yesterday. (Applause.) Give her another round of applause for leading the Small Business Administration with such great qualities. (Applause.) With Linda McMahon at the SBA, we re listening to small business owners — and that hadn’t been happening for a while in Washington, D.C. — been listening to people just like many who are with us today. Would you join me in thanking all the great small business owners who are gathered here today — people that make West Virginia such a great place to live, to work and to raise their family. (Applause.) Thank you all.
We just had a great conversation. We talked with these job-creators here in West Virginia about the President s pro-business agenda of less regulations, lower taxes, fair trade, better infrastructure, and a renewed focus on American energy. And I heard again from these West Virginia small business owners about the need to repeal and replace Obamacare. (Applause.) They told me how Obamacare stands in the way and stifles growth. It s a burden not just to job creators, it s also a burden to the American people.
Folks, I wasn t surprised to hear it because every promise of Obamacare has been broken. You all remember what they were. Seven years ago, after Obamacare was signed into law, they told us if you like your doctor, you can keep them — not true. They said if you like your health plan, you can keep it — not true. We were all told that the cost of health insurance would go down. Well, that one wasn t true either. And West Virginia knows this better than most. It’s heartbreaking to say that last year alone, Obamacare premiums here in West Virginia spiked by a stunning 32 percent. Over 40 percent of the state doesn t have any choice of an insurance provider on the Obamacare exchange.
West Virginians, and President Trump, we all know the truth about this failed law that every day Obamacare survives is another day that America suffers. That s why the President worked tirelessly over the last several weeks to get Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare. You saw his resolve to work with whoever he needed to work with, to call whoever he needed to call to get our plan across the finish line this week on Capitol Hill.
I got to tell you, I was inspired by President Trump s determination and commitment to keep his promise to the American people. (Applause.) And the President and I are grateful for Speaker Paul Ryan and all the House Republicans who stood with us in this effort to begin the end of Obamacare. But as we all learned yesterday, Congress just wasn t ready. You saw it — with 100 percent of House Democrats — every single one — and a handful of Republicans actually standing in the way of President Trump s plans to repeal and replace Obamacare. We’re back to the drawing board.
You know, Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democrats in Congress, actually said yesterday was a victory for the American people. But West Virginia knows better. Yesterday wasn t a victory for the American people. It was a victory for the status quo in Washington, D.C. And it was a victory for the disaster of Obamacare.
But I promise you that victory won’t last very long. (Applause.) The American people want Obamacare gone. And as the President said today, don’t worry, America. He just tweeted this morning. Obamacare is going to continue to explode. And when Republicans and Democrats finally decide to come together and to repeal and replace Obamacare, we ll be ready to get the job done. (Applause.)
And as the President promised just this morning, we ll all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for the people. We will end the Obamacare nightmare and give the American people the world-class healthcare that they deserve. (Applause.) Until then, I can promise you, President Trump is never going to stop fighting to keep his promises to the American people — and we will Make America Great Again. (Applause.)
And we re moving forward. Next up, we re going to get back to the President s three-part agenda — jobs, jobs, and jobs — for every American, in West Virginia and across this country. (Applause.)
And the great news is we’ve actually been on that agenda from the very day President Trump was elected. It’s been amazing to see jobs coming back to this country — even since the day after the election. Last month the economy added 235,000 jobs. Construction and manufacturing are booming again. Companies are canceling plans to move jobs and factories overseas — and they re building them right here in America once again. (Applause.) It’s true. Businesses and consumers haven t been this confident in years — and by some measures, for more than a decade.
Folks, the era of slow growth is over — and a new era of American growth and jobs has already begun. (Applause.) And it s all because the American people know President Donald Trump is a man of his word and he s a man of action. In fact, on day one, President Trump went straight to work rolling back reams of red tape that have been killing jobs and small business America across this country. He instructed every bureaucracy in Washington, D.C. to find two regulations to get rid of before issuing any new regulations out of our nation s capital. (Applause.) He s already taken decisive action to protect American jobs and American workers — and we will not stop until we end illegal immigration once and for all. (Applause.)
Just this week, the President authorized the Keystone pipeline, creating tens of thousands of jobs and protecting our energy future. (Applause.)
And, folks, we re just getting started. Next up, as the President said yesterday, we re going to roll our sleeves up and we’re going to cut taxes across the board for working families, small businesses, and family farms. (Applause.) Working with this Congress, President Trump is going to pass the largest tax cut since the days of Ronald Reagan. And we re going to get this American economy moving again. (Applause.) We’re going to reform the tax code and make it flatter and simpler and fairer.
I guarantee you there isn t anyone here, including the Fosters, who can make sense of the tax code. You know, there s an old joke — there s an old joke about how the tax code in this country is 10 times the size of the Bible with none of the good news. (Applause.) Right? The truth is our taxes makes it far too difficult for job-creators and hardworking people all across this country get ahead and to achieve the American Dream.
That s why our tax plan will make American businesses and American opportunities more competitive all over this country. We re going to also cut the corporate tax rate in America. We have one of the highest business taxes in America — we’re going to cut it to 15 percent so American companies will invest in American operations to create American jobs. (Applause.)
So we’re going to cut taxes for every American, and we’re going to cut taxes for free enterprise. But we re going to get this economy moving with less regulation, and more American energy. Let me make you a promise — right after we dropped our right hands on January 20th, it was official: The war on coal is over. (Applause.) And a new era of American energy has begun. (Applause.)
For far too long, politicians and bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. have crippled our nation s economy and crippled West Virginia s economy, without regard to the impact that it has on people s utility bills, and the impact it has on jobs of hardworking Americans. Right here in West Virginia, they ve pushed mining companies to the breaking point. They jeopardized thousands of good-paying jobs, and cut off a brighter future for countless West Virginia families. It s heartbreaking to think that West Virginia has lost more than a third of its mining jobs over the last few years alone , and that over 130 mines have been shut down since 2009.
Folks, that s not right. The hardworking men and women of this state have been forgotten for too long — and they will be forgotten no more under President Donald Trump. (Applause.) From the first day of this administration, President Donald Trump has been fighting for West Virginia and fighting for American energy. We re working with leaders in Congress and we’re working with the new director over at the EPA Scott Pruitt, to slash through red tape to make sure that unelected bureaucrats can t kill your jobs and cripple your economy from the comfort of their taxpayer-funded metal desks in Washington, D.C. (Applause.)
We re going to bring back jobs. We re going to get Washington out of the way of energy producers and coal miners — because energy means growth for America, and President Trump digs coal. (Applause.) Our country is going to be stronger, and West Virginia will be stronger and more prosperous because of the President s leadership.
When you get right down to it, President Trump is going to create jobs and opportunity and prosperity in this country like never before. But Making America Great Again isn t just about our economy. It also means protecting our nation and defending our way of life.
And let me tell you, I’m with him every day — President Trump has no higher priority than the safety and security of the American people. And that will always be true. (Applause.) That s why, from the first day of this administration, President Donald Trump has been standing with the men and women in law enforcement all across America. And we always will. (Applause.) We’ll work with the Congress to make sure those who protect our families and our communities have the resources and training they need to do their jobs and to come home safe to their families.
You know, there s a fair number of law enforcement personnel that are with us today. I know most of you are standing, but would all of you just take a minute to show the men and women in law enforcement here in West Virginia just how much we all truly appreciate the job that they do protecting our families. (Applause.)
President Trump is putting our security first and our safety first. That’s why he s strengthening our borders. This President is going to build a wall, enforce our laws, and as he told the Congress, we re acting right now to take gang members, drug dealers, and criminals that threaten our communities and prey on our citizens off the streets of West Virginia and off the streets of America. (Applause.)
And as the father of a United States Marine, let me say this, from my heart — (applause) — I couldn t be more proud and grateful to say that we have a President who will rebuild our military, restore the arsenal of democracy, give our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard the resources and training they need to accomplish their mission and come home safe at last. (Applause.) He s going to do it.
So it s about jobs; it’s about energy; it’s about our national defense. And President Trump is also keeping one more promise I want to mention, and that’s the promise that he made to nominate to the Supreme Court someone who will be faithful to our Constitution. By nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump has kept his word to appoint a justice to the Supreme Court who will keep faith with the Constitution and who will uphold the God-given liberties that are enshrined there. (Applause.)
You saw it this week. My daughter was off work — she got to watch CSPAN. She told me she watched a lot of Judge Gorsuch s testimony before the Senate. Three days of powerful testimony before the Senate, Judge Neil Gorsuch made it clear why President Trump nominated him to the highest court in the land, didn t he? He demonstrated temperament and intellect — explains why the bipartisan praise is rolling in. The truth is America saw this week what President Trump saw when he made that decision. Judge Neil Gorsuch is one of the most respected, qualified, and mainstream nominees to the Supreme Court in American history. (Applause.)
But, remarkably, this week Senator Chuck Schumer and the obstructionists in his party in the Senate actually announced that the Democrats plan to filibuster Judge Gorsuch s nomination to be an associate justice. That’s something that’s never been done successfully in American history.
So let me say this to you, West Virginia. If we can get the help of Senator Joe Manchin, and with the help of Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Judge Neil Gorsuch will soon become Justice Neil Gorsuch — and America and the rule of law will be better for it. (Applause.)
So let me be clear. President Trump and I are confident, the United States Senate will confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch, one way or the other. (Applause.)
It is great to be in West Virginia. (Applause.)
My friends, we ve come to a pivotal moment in our nation s history. In this moment, I think we need every freedom-loving American — we need all of you — to stand up, speak out, and take time, as you ve done today to come and be engaged and be involved. We need you to keep telling your neighbors here in West Virginia we can do better, that we re renewing and restoring this country, that we can put America back on a path to a brighter future. And this I know we will do because I have faith.
You know, over the mantel of our home since my first run for office back in the year 2000 there s been a framed copy of a verse from the Good Book. It was in our home in Indiana and it was in the Governor s Residence in Indiana when I served there. And now it hangs above the mantel in the home of the Vice President of the United States. And it simply reads these words: For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope, and a future.
In November, the people of West Virginia voted to give America a President — a President with the strength and the courage and the vision to make America great again. You voted to give us a new leader who would make America prosperous again. And I believe with all my heart, that with your continued support and faith, and with God s help, together we will restore this country, that our best days are ahead, and that, together, we will Make America Great Again. (Applause.)
Thank you, West Virginia. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
3:31 P.M. EDT