June 23, 2017 — A multi-million dollar settlement has been paid to the family of a woman who died in a car accident after hitting the end of a guardrail with an ET-Plus end-terminal made by Trinity Industries.
The wrongful death lawsuit was filed against Trinity Industries, manufacturer of the ET-Plus guardrail end-terminal, and the State of Tennessee for installing it along Highway 394 near Blountville.
Public records show that Tennessee paid a $20,000 settlement to the family of Sabrena Carrier, which was less than 1% of what Trinity is paying, according to state Attorney General Herb Slattery:
“The potential damages in this case in the the range of $2.5 million – $3.5 million, not including punitive damages (which would not affect the State obviously).”
He said the state offered a settlement because there were witnesses who testified that the ET-Plus guardrail had been damaged months before the accident occurred, but it was never fixed. Damage to the ET-Plus may be why the guardrail jammed up and impaled her car.
Tennessee removed the ET-Plus from its list of approved products in October 2014, after a federal judge in Texas ruled that Trinity defrauded the government when it decreased the size of the U-shaped chute meant to deflect the guardrail away from oncoming cars.
On December 17, 2008, Sabrena Carrier was driving to work in Tennessee when she hit the end of a guardrail. Instead of deflecting away, the guardrail impaled her torso and caused fatal injuries. Photos show the guardrail pushed the driver’s seat to the back of the car. The lawsuit was filed by her 14 year-old son, her mother, and her fiancée.
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