Transcript: Ken Rimer’s press briefing remarks on GM’s ignition switch recall – April 1, 2014

Partial transcript of press briefing remarks by Ken Rimer, step-father of Natasha Weigel, on GM’s ignition switch recall on April 1, 2014:

I am here before you today as a voice of my step-daughter, Natasha Weigel, 18 and her friend, Amy Rademaker, 15.

They lost their voice, their whole life on the evening of Oct. 24, 2006 while riding with another friend, Megan Kerns, in her father-in-law’s 2005 Chevy Cobalt.

What was to be a simple shopping excursion turned into a death trap as their vehicle without any warning lost power. The steering wheel locked, power brakes no longer worked and the safety air bags turned off.

When all of this happened, the car followed a path off the road, went airborne over an adjoining driveway, crushed a phone box, and tragically collided with a group of trees.

Miraculously, all three girls survived the initial accident and were rushed to the area’s local trauma center.

Amy, with her extensive head injuries, passed away within hours. Natasha, after hours of surgery and in a coma because of her head injuries kept alive by life support, held on for 11 days before being pronounced brain dead after which life support then was stopped.

Megan survived but to this day still suffers physical ailments and mental anguish as being the sole survivor.

My wife, Jane, lost everything. Natasha was her only child. There’d be no boyfriend troubles, no wedding jitters, no children for Natasha or grandchildren for Jane. No family member to care for her as she grows old. Just a forever hole in her heart for the daughter she so loved.

The accident report shows the speed was not a factor, weather was not a factor, nor road conditions or traffic. The ignition system was found in the accessory position by accident investigators.

None of this ever had to happened. It could have been easily addressed and corrected. Four years priors to producing the Cobalt, GM engineers were aware of a problem with that ignition switch design, which could cause it to turn to the excessive position with just the weight of a key chain or a road bump.

Rather than fixing the problem, they chose to keep producing the Cobalt with the ill-fated ignition switch and selling it to an unsuspecting public.

Would fixing the problem when it was discovered save these two girls’ lives and the lives of many others? Yes.

Should GM be able to hide behind their bankruptcy and not accept the responsibility and liability of these young lives? No.

Please help us in standing up for what is right.

GM knew it was wrong. GM hid it during the bankruptcy proceedings. GM is liable for these young deaths.

I urge Congress to take immediate action and pass strong legislation with tough penalties so the cover-up stop. Needless deaths and injuries, especially when an inexpensive and easy fix was available, should not be the cost of doing business.

The preventable deaths of Natasha and Amy will not be forgotten. Stop the corporate cover-ups. Congress should act now and pass legislation to stop.

Natasha and Amy will not be forgotten and we must protect other families from these types of tragedies.


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