CROSSVILLE (WATE) – A family called for change on Tennessee’s roads after their daughter died in an accident on Interstate 40. Lauren Beuttel sat in the back seat when the driver hit a guardrail. It went through the car killing her and the driver in June 2016.
The guardrail in the accident is the type the Tennessee Department of Transportation now plans to remove from the roads after concerns about its performance. This family and others want the state to go a step further.
Wayne Gambill and his wife, Ladeana, lost their daughter in that crash. A similar one happened in Hamilton County just three days after Beuttel’s. TDOT said both crashes involved the same type of X-Lite guard rail. According to them, four people died last year in Tennessee after hitting these types of end terminals.
“It’s very upsetting to know that this could have been prevented with a more proper system in place,” said Ladeana Gambill.
TDOT stopped buying this type of guardrail in October after concerns about its performance. They made that discovery after already replacing the guard rail in Beuttel’s crash with another X-Lite terminal.
“It’s like they are playing Russian roulette with other’s lives,” said Ladeana Gambill.
The Gambills didn’t learn about the problems with X-Lite end terminals until WATE 6 On Your Side reached out to them and shared the stories of the other crash victims. A spokesperson with TDOT said they do not regularly reach out to families of crash victims. They did talk to another father, Steve Eimers. Eimers daughter died in a similar crash in November. They spoke after Eimers reached out to TDOT.
The Gambills continue to mourn but are now trying to find meaning in their daughter’s death. They signed a letter with other families impacted by these guardrails. It asked the federal government to remove all X-Lite terminals.
TDOT said they plan to remove X-Lite guard rails on roads where the speed limit is 45 miles per hour or faster. They hope to remove them by this spring or summer. The Gambills thought that was not enough.
“We don’t want other families to experience this,” Ladeana Gambill said.