KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Tennessee lawmakers described the testimony of a Lenoir City father as “powerful,” “memorable,” and “emotional.” Next week, seven guard rail end terminals in East Tennessee will be replaced.
Stephen Eimers’ daughter was killed in November 2016 in McMinn County when her car went off the road and ran into an X-Lite guardrail end terminal. The guardrail went through the Lenoir City teen’s car, pushing her into the backseat.
Now, lawmakers have heard Eimers’ story and what he believes are necessary changes, including replacement of X-Lite guardrail end terminals.
“I looked around and there was a few non-dry eyes. People really took in both the pain he shared as a father and the passion he gave through the committee – what he really wanted to see accomplished with the TDOT group.” said Rep. Jimmy Matlock.
“Sometimes, you look over the roses and only see the thorns in things. He is bringing out what needs to be done here in Tennessee and what needs to be done for the safety hazards here.” said Rep. Dale Carr, who is also a member of the House Transportation Committee.
Carr says he is confident the Tennessee Department of Transportation will make these changes, especially considering Eimers’ work of advocating not just for his family, but others.
“Talking to other members after Mr. Eimers testimony, I think it was something that really impacted and really raised an awareness that most people didn’t even realize there was an issue. I think that’s what Steve’s goal was.” said Rep. Jason Zachary.
Zachary says the next steps include lawmakers educating themselves and holding parties, like the Tennessee Department of Transportation, accountable.
“What did you know and when did you know it? It’s important to vet that and walk through that and make sure there is accountability from beginning to end. That’s a question we’ll ask TDOT. As lawmakers, as we navigate through this.” said Zachary.
When asked, a TDOT representative told WATE 6 On Your Side they would not comment on Eimers’ testimony.