In protest of a court order to return a portion of insurance money related to a 2001 car crash that killed his son, Roger Herrin sent four tons worth of quarters to two law offices representing other crash victims.
He wanted to send the money in pennies, but found it would be impossible. The sacks of quarters he obtained the Federal Reserve in St. Louis only totaled $150,000, less than a third of the court-ordered repayment.
The Illinois businessman's 15-year-old son, Michael, was killed when a truck ran a stop sign and broadsided the Jeep Cherokee in which he was a passenger, along with three others, who were injured.
A judge ordered the bulk of a $900,000 insurance payment initially split among the crash victims to the Herrin estate, due to being the only death. The remaining crash victims appealed the decision.
The appeals court heard that Herrin had a separate insurance policy on which he received $1.6 million. The court found in favor of the surviving victims and ordered Herrin to return more than $500,000 of his original $600,000 portion.
“The (Jeep Cherokee’s) common pool of underinsured-motorist coverage initially must be distributed to the injured occupants with no outside source of underinsured-motorist coverage, effectively eliminating any recovery for the Herrin Estate,” appellate judges wrote.
Herrin, 76, is a retired foot surgeon and currently owns three Illinois nursing homes, and previously owned several community banks, all of which have been recently sold.
"It’s vehemently wrong in my view and nearly everybody else in the world," he said of the payment. "If and when someone loses a child it leaves a hole in your heart that is never repairable."
"To support my deceased son and ex-wife, I have to fight it to the very end and this is final end," Herrin said. He paid the amount in coins in protest of the court's decision.
"They can have all the money in the world and I'd take my son back," Herrin said.
Each of the 150 sacks of quarters weighed about fifty pounds, and were delivered to two separate law offices representing the other victims.
The lawyers could not comment on the decision due to confidentiality agreements, with attorney Douglas N. Dorris saying only, "He's a man who has lost a son."
But they did express surprise at the delivery, noting the high-profile stash of cash presented problems for their practices until they could be transported to a bank.