Coping with losing a loved one in a car accident is never easy for any family. And it has to be even harder when they receive a letter sent to the deceased from the state, billing them for the property damaged in the crash.
Hannah Eimers, 17, was killed in November when she lost control of her father’s Volvo and struck a guardrail end terminal on a Tennessee highway, The Washington Post reports. However, months after her death, the Tennessee Department of Transportation sent Eimers a bill for the damages.
“It’s obscene,” Hannah’s father, Steve Eimers, told The Post. “They will kill you and then they will bill you. The bill was absolutely tasteless … It’s almost comical. It’s like the most obscene comedy skit you can come up with.”
The letter reportedly was sent to Hannah by mistake, and a new letter has been sent to the family informing they will not be billed.
“TDOT greatly apologizes for this mistake,” Mark Nagi, a spokesman for the TDOT said, via The Post. “There is no excuse for the letter/bill that was sent, and we will take measures to make sure that this never happens again.”
Eimers, an emergency medical technician, said the Lindsay X-Lite Guardrail End Terminal his daughter collided with should’ve crumpled, increasing the chance of survival.
“It should have been, at worst, a minor-injury accident with property damage — probably little to no injury,” Steve told The Post. “The girl that was with her in the other seat had a little, tiny cut.”
Day’s before Hannah’s death, the TDOT reportedly removed the Lindsay X-Lite from the state’s qualified product’s list, amid concerns their crumple zones weaken over time. However, it didn’t decide to remove the terminals from roads with speed limits over 45 mph until late 2016, and the replacement process might not conclude until summer, according to The Post.