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Financially Troubled Pennsylvania Sends Car Crash Amputee Bill for Damaged Guardrail

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A January crash on Pennsylvania's Interstate 80 ripped off Marzena Mulawka's right leg and shattered her left leg, pelvis and back.

After eight surgeries in five months, Mulawka finally -- sort of -- got her life back.

She also got a bill for $2,509.42 from the state of Pennsylvania for -- wait for it -- damaging the highway guardrail in the crash that severed her leg. PennDOT spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick said "the situation (she) described is a tragedy," and said the matter was under review. "I just don't know why this happened."

Maybe it's because much of Pennsylvania is desperate for cash?

In September, Pennsylvania’s capital city, Harrisburg, got an advance on state aid to meet $3.3 million in bond payments, averting "what would have been the second-largest general-obligation default in the U.S. this year," according to Bloomberg.

Harrisburg’s default would have raised borrowing costs for other Pennsylvania municipalities and school districts, and might have even made credit unobtainable. The city has also skipped $8 million in payments so far this year and "is negotiating for relief with the Harrisburg Authority, which also operates the city’s water and sewer system; the bonds’ insurer, Hamilton, Bermuda-based Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp., and Dauphin County, where the city is located, which is co-guarantor on some of the bonds."

Whether or not trying to extract two grand for a damaged guardrail from a woman whose life was permanently altered in a horrific accident would do much to close Pennsylvania's budget gap is debatable.

But I do know one thing: next time I travel to the Keystone State, I'm taking the train.
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