Roger Herrin, an Illinois businessman, was outraged after a court ordered that he return more than $500,000 in insurance money related to the 2001 wreck and death of his teenage son. The court order was issued to resolve a decades-old legal battle over how $800,000 was to be distributed amongst the survivors of the accident. In protest, Herrin decided to repay the half-million dollars in coins.
Herrin told reporters:
“I’ve had 10 years to think about this a little bit, and I’m very, very bitter at this ruling. It’s wrong, and everybody knows it’s wrong.
Herrin initially planned to repay the money with pennies but found that was unfeasible. Instead, Herrin delivered 150 transparent sacks of quarters, all he could get from the Federal Reserve in St. Louis, each weighing more than 50 pounds. The backbreaking load of quarters were delivered to the Federal Reserve by an armored vehicle and then loaded onto a flatbed truck for transport to two law firms that represented other victims of the accident.
Still, Herrin noted that all the money in the world could not right the wrong.
“There was no satisfaction from doing that. The loss of a child is the loss of a child, and all the money doesn’t replace that. I just wanted to draw attention to what went on here. I really wanted to do it in pennies.”
Bewildered attorneys, who found themselves sitting on four tons worth of coinage, were worried about the burglary risk.
“We’ve been on pins and needles because we had a lot of cash suddenly laying around [and] it was publicized. We don’t have safes or vaults, and we lock our front door.”
NBC News explained the controversial legal battle.
“It ended the legal wrangling that’s happened since Herrin’s 15-year-old son, Michael, was killed in June 2001. He was a passenger in a Jeep Cherokee that was broadsided by a truck that blew through a stop sign near Raleigh in southern Illinois’ Saline County. Three other occupants of the Jeep were injured. Roger Herrin got $1.6 million compensation through his own coverage. Of an additional $800,000 paid out through other insurance, the Herrin estate got the bulk of it because of Michael Herrin’s death, with the remainder of that money distributed to survivors. Those survivors appealed and won when the Mount Vernon, Ill.-based 5th District Appellate Court ruled against Roger Herrin.”