Bakersfield, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/15/2014 -- General Motors advises consumers who own one of the recalled vehicles 2005 to 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2006-2007 Chevy HHR, 2003-2007 Saturn Ion, 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice, 2007 Saturn Sky, 2007 Pontiac G5 to immediately remove any other keys or key fobs attached to their car keys. Any additional weight can increase the risk that the ignition switch unintentionally moves out of the run position and into the accessory or off position, causing the electrical power to go out and the car to stall. Traveling on rough roads and accidentally jostling the key in the ignition are other risks.
Natasha Weigel, 18, along with her pals, Amy Lynn Rademaker, 15 and Megan Ungar-Kerns, 17, suffered a fatal accident that took their lives except Megan who had brain damages. It was October 24, 2006 when the three were cruising east on highway N in St. Croix County shortly after 8pm when the Chevrolet Cobalt suddenly lost power and steering. The car went 40 feet above before crashing into a telephone pole and into the trees. Investigation showed none of the girls wore seatbelts and airbags failed to launch.
"Accidents can happen and we figured it was a bad turn of events. We weren't OK with it because it didn't make a lot of sense. We always knew something happened. We know the car shut off within five seconds before the crash. The steering wheel locked up. We figured it wouldn't be until we saw Natasha again, the two of us, that we'd get the answer," said Ken Rimer, Natasha’s Step Father.
Investigators identified the Chevy's ignition switch was in accessory position rather than run that could have made the engines stalled unexpectedly and killed electrical power that disabled the air bags. Natasha’s parent’s felt this was complete negligence on General Motors part in not taking quick action on this faulty ignition switch installed on obsolete models.
Because GM no longer sells the recalled models of vehicles, GM is currently out of replacement ignition switches for the vehicles. GM spokesman James Cain said production of the switches has been ramped up and GM is expecting them to be back in stock about April 7. At that time, customers will be notified that they can get repairs done. GM officials have said they want all repairs done by sometime in October.
In the wake of the recall, GM officials admittedly acknowledge the ignition problems for a while now. GM have pointed out the problem with stalling and suggested solutions on 2005 Chevy Cobalt in 2005 and 2006 but no official recalls were issued until last March. GM has issued an apology on the issue but is still doing its internal investigation as to why it took them so long to issue a recall.
Families of the victims took matters into their own hands and filed a lawsuit against General Motors with the help of Attorney Bob Hilliard. The lawsuit claims that the faulty ignition switch was to blame for the St. Croix County accident. It's a test case that could establish whether GM can be held liable for incidents that happened before GM filed for bankruptcy in July 2009 and emerged as a new company. The U.S. Justice Department, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a congressional subcommittee have all launched their own investigations to find answers on the on-going issue.
For the meantime, GM announced they are willing to work with people on a case-by-case basis to find a rental car until repairs can be performed and drivers who previously paid for repairs now covered under the recall are eligible for reimbursement.
About Bakersfield Car Accident Attorney
Kyle Jones was born and raised in Bakersfield, California. After graduating from Stockdale High in 1995 Kyle went on to obtain his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of California at Santa Barbara and then a Juris Doctorate from the Santa Clara University School of Law. He looks forward to being a vital part of the Bakersfield Community.
Juris Doctorate from Santa Clara University School of Law.
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Philosophy, University of California Santa Barbara.
Admitted to practice as an Attorney and Counselor in the United - States District Court for the Southern, Northern, Eastern and Central - Districts of California.
Member of the State Bar of California.
Member of the Kern County Bar Association.
Member of the American Bar Association.
Member of the California Young Lawyers Association (CYLA).
Experienced as Certified Mediator.
Volunteered for the Northern California Innocence Project at Santa Clara University.
Attended Institute of International and Comparative Law in Munich, Germany.