Steve Eimers Won’t Be Silenced

Steve Eimers won’t be silenced.

Hannah Eimers

He is suing the maker of a guardrail that killed his daughter, 17-year old Hannah Eimers.

On November 1, 2016, Hannah Eimers was driving home in Tennessee in a Volvo S80 when her car slammed into the end of a guardrail.

The ends of guardrails are supposed to be safety devices, designed to prevent the guardrail itself from spearing into the side of the vehicle.

But Eimers says that the end of the guardrail his daughter slammed into was defective.

And it speared the driver side door and his daughter Hannah, killing her instantly.

He’s now suing the maker of the X-Lite guardrail – Lindsay Corporation. 

He would settle the case with the company, as did many others. But he refuses to accept a gag order that is a condition of any settlement.

So, he’s going to trial, which is now scheduled for federal court in Chattanooga, Tennessee in June 2022.

“She traveled to a party,” Eimers told Corporate Crime Reporter in an interview last week. “She was super excited. She worked on Burt Reynolds’ final movie. She had original artwork in the trailer and in the movie. She loved props. She went to a party. Hannah didn’t drink or smoke pot. She was headed home from that party. And she got to mile marker 56.2 on Interstate 75 in McMinn County, Tennessee. She went off the left side of the road. I don’t know why.”

“But what I know is that there is a safety product called the Lindsay X-Lite guardrail system. Hannah hit that. It tore through her car. The girl beside her walked away without a scratch.” 

“I worked EMS. And when you work EMS you are familiar with the term ‘injuries not compatible with life.’ You look at a crash site and ask – why is this person dead? When this happens, you are in such a fog that you cannot understand what it’s like to try and process the loss of your child.” 

“But there was something that was bothering me about this crash. What explained injuries not compatible with life here? It didn’t make any sense.”

“About a month later, I was driving and I looked over to the side of the road. And something popped into my head. I saw a report on 20/20. And I went down a rabbit hole. And I’m not out yet.”

What are the metal things at the end of guardrails?

“They are called guardrail end terminals. You have guardrails designed to redirect a vehicle back onto the roadway. And the ends of the guardrails are very dangerous. They need to be anchored. If you don’t anchor them and a car hits the guardrail between rails say three and seven, then you can rupture through. The ends need to be treated with an energy absorbing device that will prevent spearing.”

The end terminals were a safety feature. They were put there so that the end of the guardrail wouldn’t spear the vehicle?

“Yes. These were designed to prevent the spearing of vehicles. The only purpose of this guardrail end terminal is to prevent what happened in Hannah’s crash.”

“My daughter died on November 1, 2016. The X-Lite guardrail had been banned on October 25, 2016 because there had been three spearings involving X-Lite in the months before Hannah’s crash. And three other people had been fatally speared before her crash. And those were just in Tennessee.”

“Since then, I have discovered deaths in the months before Hannah’s crash in Missouri and in Massachusetts involving spearing.”

“There was one in Missouri on May 16, 2016. There were two in Tennessee on June 29, 2016. And there was one in Chattanooga, Tennessee on July 2, 2016. It was caught live on a dashcam. Then there was one on July 12 in Peabody, Massachusetts.” 

How many spearings have there been?

“I have identified roughly 50 spearings, not all deaths. But for the performance of X-Lite, I believe my daughter would be alive. And many others. Others have lost their legs in these spearings.”

What is the status of your litigation against Lindsay?

“It’s pending. The trial date got moved again. Last month, it was moved to June 2022. But it’s probably going to get bounced again.”

Have there been any settlement negotiations?

“It’s on the court docket that there was one that was an unsuccessful negotiation in September 2020. There is another mandated settlement conference that was recently ordered. That has not happened yet.”

Who is your current lawyer?

“Teresa Monroe out of Albany, New York. And Richie Sullivan out of Boston, Massachusetts.”

What happened to your previous lawyer?

“Reuters has written quite a bit about protective order abuse. I’m not interested in monetizing Hannah’s death. I’m not interested in settling scores. I want the truth.” 

“Lawyers have a strong vested interest in settling cases and letting the problem that is killing people continue.”

“I am not going to settle my case and agree to complete silence. If X-Lite is going to be out there saying their product is safe, I’m going to be out there saying it’s not safe.”

“If someone says to me – Steve, will you go with me to where my wife was cut in half because you are the only person who can relate to what happened? If they ask me that, I’m going to get in my car and I am going to drive to South Carolina and kneel there and pray with him. If I am asked by somebody who lost their leg – Steve what happened? I’m not going to reject my worldview.”

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. That’s Dietrich Bonhoffer. Not to speak is to speak, not to act is to act. God will know.”

“I understand the state of the law in Tennessee. I will take a settlement. But I will not take a settlement that demands silence.”

Have the other cases been settled?

“I believe somewhere in the neighborhood of ten civil lawsuits have been settled.”

You have no sense as to what they are settling for?

“I don’t.”

You have had some victories in getting the product removed from the market. 

“It was banned in Tennessee before Hannah’s crash. It was banned in some other states. There were 30 states that used this. I had no political connections when this started. I just started asking questions. I was able to get X-Lite banned from new installations in all fifty states. I got it banned in every U.S. state. I got it banned in every Canadian province.”

How many states have removed the guardrails?

“Twenty-two states have removed them. Every Canadian province that used them has removed them.” 

“Of the remaining eight states, many of the X-Lites have been pulled off the roadways in those states.”

How many X-Lites are still out there?

“In the neighborhood of 15,000 in those eight states. Texas and North Carolina and Massachusetts are the big states. There are a bunch in Brazil.”

Georgia still has them up?

“Georgia does. Georgia is corrupt. I have emails from Georgia, before Hannah’s crash. And they say – it looks like the slider rails are not performing as intended.” 

You want to go to trial. But you would settle if there were no gag order?

“I could settle my case. Tort reform in the state of Tennessee is vile. It is nothing but corporate teet-sucking fascism. We have put in some restrictive limits. There is a part of me that would like to go to trial to expose those limits. But I am prepared to settle.”

Will the company settle with you if you do not agree to a gag order?

“I would be shocked.”

Lindsay tested their own product. One of the victories you have secured is requiring independent testing of guardrails.

“Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) introduced legislation to require this. And it is now law. It was part of the infrastructure bill.”

“I’m pretty libertarian in my views. If we are going to pay for these, we better be testing. And we had better get rid of the tort reform that is letting these companies escape liability.” 

Are you still a libertarian?

“I now say I’m pragmatic.”

[For the complete q/a format Interview with Steve Eimers, 36 Corporate Crime Reporter 10(13), Monday March 7, 2022, print edition only.] 

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