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

Partial transcript of press briefing remarks by Samantha Denti of Toms River, New Jersey, on GM’s ignition switch recall on April 1, 2014:

I was your typical 20-year-old. My prized possession was my brand new car. I had a beautiful red Cobalt that was great on gas, played my CDs at the perfect volume. And most importantly, it was mine – all mine.

I had friends living in different states. Luckily, I had a trustworthy car to get me there. Or so I thought.

I was driving down on the highway in Toms River, New Jersey when all of a sudden my car went from 45 miles per hour to zero within seconds. As the cars swerved to avoid crashing into me, I started to cry hysterically. Luckily, two men jumped out of their cars to push me to a gas station that was up the road. I immediately called my mother crying. She told me to shut the car off. But when I put it back on, it was perfectly fine.

Months later, the same situation happened again except this time I was on a long haul to visit my best friend in Tennessee. As I was driving down an offramp, the same exact thing happened. Luckily, the car behind me was very alert, swerved around me while cursing at me and then taking off. With shaky hands, a racing heart, and tear-filled eyes, I turned the key in the ignition once again and the car was instantly good to go.

When I returned home, my mother and I brought the car to the service sector for a second time. She insisted that they keep this car until they figured out the problem. After 10 days of testing my car, to their amazement they said they found the problem. They informed me that maybe my key ring was slightly enlarged and if my knee hit the bottom, it would immediately shut down.

So with a key chain of just a single ignition key and my one house key, a few months later the situation happened for the third time. Somehow, I somehow escaped a four-car pile-up.

At that point in my life, I was diagnosed with a heart disease and had a pacemaker and defibrillator implanted in me. Doctors informed me that any form of stress or anxiety would cause the setting off of this device.

This led my mother and I to decide that this car was surely a death trap and the games of what if and when again were not ones we were willing to play anymore. Driving this car was like playing a game of Russian Roulette with my safety and that of my friends.

I can’t even begin to explain the fear and confusion that runs through you when you have no control over your car.

I cannot comprehend the loss that these families behind me are going through. My hope is that the horror stops right now. I don’t want any more drivers to be mourned by families and friends because an automaker hid a deadly problem, the federal government failed to take action, and drivers like me were kept in the dark.

I would like to close this by quoting my mother’s letter to Chevy General Motors from years ago. She said, “This is a safety recall issue if there ever was one. I should not have to list to you the safety problems that may happen such as accidents or deaths as I firmly believe this car needs to be recalled, re-examined, revised…”

Thank you.

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