Tennessee bills teen to replace guardrail that killed her
- Created on 24 March 2017
USA Today Network Travis Dorman, Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel 7:20 p.m. ET March 24, 2017
A Loudon County man is advocating for changes after the Tennessee Department of Transportation billed his dead daughter nearly $3,000 to replace the guardrail that killed her in a car accident last November. Travis Dorman
Hannah Eimers, 17, of Lenoir City, Tenn., was killed Nov. 1, 2016, when her driver's side door hit the end of a guardrail that impaled the car she was driving. (Photo: Courtesy of Steven Eimers)
LENOIR CITY, Tenn. — The state of Tennessee has billed a dead teen nearly $3,000 to replace the guardrail that killed her in a car crash in November.
Her flabbergasted father said that he not only would not pay but also contends that the model of guardrail that struck his daughter was poorly designed and dangerous.
Around 5:44 a.m. ET Nov. 1, Hannah Eimers, 17, was driving her father's 2000 Volvo S80 on Interstate 75 northbound near Niota, Tenn., when the car left the road, traveled into the median and hit the end of a guardrail with the driver's side door, according to a Tennessee Highway Patrol crash report.
Instead of deflecting the car or buckling to absorb the impact, the guardrail end impaled the vehicle, striking the teen in the head and chest and pushing her into the back seat, according to the report. She died instantly.
Four months later, Steven Eimers of Lenoir City received a $2,970 bill from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, dated Feb. 24 and addressed to Hannah for the cost of labor and materials to install 25 feet of guardrail at the scene of the crash.
"I’m shocked, the audacity," he said. "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."
“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.”Steven Eimers, Lenoir City, Tenn.
The guardrail end Hannah hit was a Lindsay X-LITE, a model that the state transportation department had removed from its approved products list just one week earlier.
The bill was the result of "a mistake somewhere in processing," and the department "greatly apologizes for it," spokesman Mark Nagi said. Another letter is being sent to explain the error.
The transportation department's removal of the model from its product list means the agency will not use it in new installations, but roughly 1,000 guardrail ends remain on Tennessee roads, Nagi said.
On March 31, the department will begin accepting bids for a contract to remove most of them in places where the speed limit exceeds 45 mph, Nagi said. He did not disclose the exact number or the cost of the contract.
The guardrail, which is supposed to collapse like a telescope when hit on the end, didn't always...
Collapse of Obamacare repeal plan puts Freedom Caucus in complicated spot
- Created on 24 March 2017
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., speaks to reporters after a meeting of the House Freedom Caucus to discuss the healthcare bill on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on March 23, 2017. Meadows chairs the conservative caucus. (Photo: Nicholas Kamm, AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON — The House Freedom Caucus scored a victory with conservatives Friday when House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Trump decided to abandon legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare. But the group now also must face a party and a president frustrated that their demands for a more conservative approach forced the legislation to a standstill that leaves the Affordable Care Act in place.
On Friday afternoon House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that the legislation had been pulled from consideration because there were not enough votes for it to pass.
While the bill faced critics from all factions of the party, no group played more of a role in sinking the legislation than the Freedom Caucus.
The caucus — which is made up for approximately three dozen hardline conservatives — felt the legislation put forth by House leadership did not go far enough to repeal the health care law. They vowed that enough of their members would vote “no” to sink the bill if their demands weren’t met.
Freedom Caucus members spent weeks in meetings with the president and top level officials — as recently as Friday afternoon they huddled with the vice president on Capitol Hill — but did not work with House leadership until the final hours leading up to the vote. In the end, and the majority of the caucus members vowed to vote against the bill, and without their support it couldn't pass.
Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., is a member of the Freedom Caucus who did not announce which way he planned to vote, but acknowledged Friday morning that the group he belonged to was in a complicated position.
“This kind of cuts two ways. If the bill fails because of the Freedom Caucus then certainly it will be impossible to suggest that they have no influence. But if it fails because the Freedom Caucus and is seen in a negative light then it will incur the wrath of those who see it that way,” Franks told USA TODAY. “I think (President Trump) might be among those voices.”
For his part, Friday afternoon Trump insisted he didn’t feel betrayed by the Freedom Caucus.
“No, not particularly. They're friends of mine. I'm disappointed because we could have had it. So I'm disappointed. I'm a little surprised, to be honest with you. We really had it. It was pretty much there within grasp,” Trump told reporters after the announcement that the vote had been pulled. “It was a very hard time for them and a very hard vote. But they're very good people.”
“I’m a member of the Freedom Caucus and I do not blame the Freedom Caucus. I thought we were constructive, it was just a bridge too far in terms of the differences between conservatives and the moderates,”...
Twitter celebrates Obamacare's survival with tweets, memes
- Created on 24 March 2017
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., hold a news conference in the House Visitors Center, March 24, 2017 in Washington, D.C.
Ex-Penn State president guilty after failing to report suspected Sandusky abuse
- Created on 23 March 2017
Mark Scolforo, Associated Press Published 4:31 p.m. ET March 24, 2017 | Updated 18 minutes ago
Former Penn State president Graham Spanier walks to the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg, Pa., on March 24, 2017. (Photo: Matt Rourke, AP)
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Former Penn State president Graham Spanier was convicted Friday of hushing up suspected child sex abuse by Jerry Sandusky in 2001.
Jurors found Spanier guilty of one count of child endangerment over his handling of a complaint against the retired assistant football coach but found him not guilty of conspiracy and a second child endangerment count.
Spanier showed no emotion after the verdict was read after 13 hours of deliberations.
The trial centered on how Spanier, 68, and two other university leaders handled a complaint by a graduate assistant who said he reported seeing Sandusky sexually molesting a boy in a team shower in 2001. They told Sandusky he could not bring children onto the campus anymore but did not report the matter to police or child welfare authorities.
Sandusky was not arrested until 2011 after an anonymous tip led prosecutors to investigate the shower incident. He was convicted the next year of sexually abusing 10 boys and is serving a decades-long prison sentence.
Four of the eight young men testifying at Sandusky’s trial said the abuse occurred after 2001.
“Evil in the form of Jerry Sandusky was allowed to run wild,” Deputy Attorney General Patrick Schulte told the jury.
The scandal sent shockwaves through the Penn State community. It led to the firing of Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno — who died of cancer at 85 in early 2012 — and resulted in the school paying out more than $90 million to settle civil claims by over 30 accusers. Paterno was never charged with a crime.
Two of Spanier’s former lieutenants, athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor child endangerment charges a week ago and testified against Spanier.
But all three denied they were told the encounter in the shower was sexual in nature.
A key piece of evidence was an email exchange in which the three debated what to do after getting the report from graduate assistant Mike McQueary.
Spanier approved having Curley tell the retired coach to stop bringing children to athletic facilities and inform The Second Mile, a charity for at-risk youth founded by Sandusky.
But the evidence also showed they had earlier planned to inform the state Department of Public Welfare. Instead, Spanier approved putting that on hold, and the agency was never contacted. That failure to make a report formed the heart of the criminal accusations against him.
“The only downside for us is if the message isn’t ‘heard’ and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it,” Spanier told Curley and Schultz in 2001 in the email exchange. He called the plan “humane and a reasonable way to proceed.”
Spanier’s attorney, Sam Silver, said the case involved judgment calls by high-ranking...
4 found dead in Sacramento; suspect arrested, identified
- Created on 24 March 2017