"We are deeply sorry to those families who received a recall
notice," said GM spokesman Greg Martin in response to questions from
GM has recalled 2.6 million of its most popular models to replace a
defective switch that it has linked to 13 fatalities. Some families
who lost loved ones in fatal crashes have complained that GM should
not have sent them notices to bring in cars for repairs.
Terri DiBattista, who lost her 16-year-old daughter Amber Marie Rose
in a 2005 Maryland accident involving a Chevrolet Cobalt, told
Reuters she received two recall notices from GM last week asking her
to bring in the vehicle to fix the ignition switch and power
steering. The car was destroyed when Rose crashed into a tree.
The postcards were mailed to the family at its new address in South
Carolina, where DiBattista said they moved to recover from the loss.
Sent by a local GM dealer, the cards detailed three different
recalls GM has issued involving the Cobalt in recent months.
DiBattista said GM could have identified the destroyed car through a
simple check of Vehicle Identification Numbers.
Rose has been identified as one of the 13 victims GM links to the
Federal regulators now say they believe that GM’s death toll is an
undercount. A Reuters analysis of federal crash data found at least
74 people have died in General Motors cars in accidents with some
key similarities to those that GM has linked to the defective
Martin said in an email that GM "continues to look into all claims
we are made aware of in the recall population."
Some families say they are still seeking answers on whether fatal
accidents could be linked to the switch.
[to top of second column]
Kim Pierce, who lost her 17-year-old son, Austin Sloat, in a crash
in Maine involving a 2004 Saturn Ion, said she learned about GM's
problems with a defective switch from news reports early this year.
She then obtained a police accident report that showed the driver's
side air bag did not deploy when he crashed at high speeds into a
tree. Another teenage driver was charged in the accident, which
Pierce has hired an attorney and contacted the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding the incident that
led to her son's death.
Martin declined comment on whether GM was reviewing Sloat's case.
"Out of respect for their privacy, we do not discuss private
conversations we may have had with family members or their legal
representation," he said.
Pierce and other victims' families have asked the NHTSA, which
regulates GM, to give them more information about the fatal
The NHTSA has said they are helping families to get answers from GM
by asking the car maker to provide additional information on its
(Reporting by Marilyn Thompson and Paul Lienert; editing by Andrew
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.