At this point anyone with even a passing knowledge of the General Motors ignition switch recall knows that the official number of deaths recognized by the automaker itself caused by the faulty part currently stands at 13 people. That figure is still under much debate, though. Reuters claims that it could be as high as 74 people, citing cases in the affected models with no airbag deployment, and the acting head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration thinks that it could be higher as well. A family in Wisconsin believes that their daughter's death deserves to be part of the official figure as well but is being left off due to a technicality.

Natasha Weigel was in the backseat of a Chevrolet Cobalt that crashed in 2006, and she tragically died of her injuries. One of the front passengers was also killed in the crash. However, GM's official data only lists the front occupant among those killed in connection with the faulty switches, not Weigel.

According to her parents and KARE 11 NBC News from Minnesota, Weigel isn't on the list because she was in the rear of the vehicle where the non-deployment of the airbags had no effect. Her family counters that if the car's power steering and brakes were working, then the crash possibly could have been avoided. They don't think it makes sense that of the two fatalities in the accident one is counted and the other isn't. The family says that it has spoken to GM CEO Mary Barra about their daughter, but they feel she showed insincere sympathy towards them.

In reaction to the recall fiasco, GM recently announced that it fired 15 employees. The company is working to set up a victim compensation fund but is being criticized because it isn't yet saying who qualifies as a victim or how much they would receive.


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  • 48 Comments
      Soyntgo4it
      • 6 Months Ago
      Everyone wants a piece of the pie.
        mapoftazifosho
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Soyntgo4it
        This isn't some instance of a person seeking compensation because their car is losing value due to a recall. Their child is DEAD.
        Chineywhale
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Soyntgo4it
        @Soyntgo4it, How is this driver error? Do you think the GM models effected by this are the only cars where the driver keeps tons of stuff on their key chains? If none of GM's other models, or models from other manufacturers in the same category (small cars that are more likely to be driven by young adults who typically keep tons of stuff on their key chain), IT'S A PRODUCT DEFECT! Add to the fact that the ignition switches tested below GM's own torque standards. So how is this driver error again?
      Soyntgo4it
      • 6 Months Ago
      I have had several GMs in the year bracket specified by this recall I never had an issue with the ignition switches. I just find this hard to believe that I think it more of driver error, having a ton of things on your keychain is what is causing this problem they even have said that in the press conferences.
        Larry Litmanen
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Soyntgo4it
        You are right, that's why GM admitted they made a mistake. God i hope you will not have any kids.
          Soyntgo4it
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen
          Ma'am you are an idiot you are the mistake your parents made giving birth to you..Opps their bad.. STFU
          Genericbeer
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen
          Please tell me you don't/won't have kids, because you're the biggest idiot on here.
        citidriver
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Soyntgo4it
        So if you say it's driver error, do you count deaths the GM way? One death due to diver error, then call the other death due to passenger error?
      That Guy
      • 6 Months Ago
      Funny, if I were GM, I'd be asking how the ignition switch caused the vehicle to veer off the road. Again another crash that is being blamed on the ignition switch when it wasn't anything related to the ignition switch.
      churchmotor
      • 6 Months Ago
      REVOLTING to read people posting here DEFENDING the corrupt GM that knew their cars were defective for over a decade, and refused to fix their know problems that lead to the deaths of owners. GM's new corporate motto. Buy at your own risk.
      Rotation
      • 6 Months Ago
      Power brakes work to stop a car even with the ignition off. There is plenty of reserve boost to stop the car.
      Radioactive Flea
      • 6 Months Ago
      Unprepared wreckless drivers, passengers, out for a money grab.
        Tariff The Imports
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Radioactive Flea
        In what world is the passenger out for a money grab when the passenger is one who died. Whatt a stupid a$$ comment Radioactive Fleabag.
      Nick
      • 6 Months Ago
      You should also mention that GM only counts fatalities from "FRONTAL" impacts. So if the ignition caused the car to shut off, and it lost power in the middle of an intersection, and then got broadsided by a truck and killed everyone onboard, then they do not count... because not a Frontal impact! Way to go GM!
      PiCASSO
      • 6 Months Ago
      Although I sympathize with the family members for a loss of a loved one, my question goes out to the rear passenger and if she was wearing a seat-belt during the time of the accident. Majority people continue to believe that sitting in the back seat doesn't require the use of a seat belt, as if the front seats will do a nice job in cushioning the impact during an accident. And I don't think the use of rear seat belts is available from the vehicle's black box like it is on the front passengers.
        Larry Litmanen
        • 6 Months Ago
        @PiCASSO
        It does not matter, she could have been riding on the roof. They car malfunctioned and THAT caused everything else, it is a chain reaction.
          Genericbeer
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen
          Feel free to ride on the roof of a car anytime. And nothing of value would be lost.
        Blackax
        • 6 Months Ago
        @PiCASSO
        @ghetto2315 If the young lady had her seatbelt on and still died, then that would be a completely new case to investigate. on why the seatbelt failed to save her life. But this would still not be considered to be a death from the ignition switch issue. @Larry Litmanen Yes the car turned off, and the driver overreacted and caused two people to die. This is a sad situation, but trying to put all the blame GM is incorrect and wrong. All of these cars failed in a way that they where still able to be safety moniverited to the side of the road.
          clquake
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Blackax
          So...If a drunk driver has 3 passengers, 1 in front and 2 in back, and he slams into a tree, driver happens to survive, kills everyone else, he's only charged with one count of vehicular manslaughter? Or is he charged three counts, like every single case we've ever seen.
        ghetto2315
        • 6 Months Ago
        @PiCASSO
        I get your point but does your stance change on the subject if it was proven that she was indeed wearing a seat belt? What's in question is whether her death regardless of wearing a seatbelt should be counted in the death toll since she was only sitting in the back. Your view is akin to an investigator counting casualties in a structural fire and counted 13 people who died by actual fire but they discounted the other causalities because they only passed away from harmful smoke inhalation. I say if they all tragically died in the building, regardless of fire, smoke or debris falling, they should all be counted. And I say if people dies while inside an affected GM vehicle regardless of front or back seat, they should all be counted. SMH
        Bradford
        • 6 Months Ago
        @PiCASSO
        "Majority people continue to believe that sitting in the back seat doesn't require the use of a seat belt" What majority are you talking to? I have never heard anyone say that, ever.
      mikemaj82
      • 6 Months Ago
      #1: I have my FOB and house key on my keychain. That is all. #2: My GM has a push button start.
      carguy1701
      • 6 Months Ago
      What kind of impact was it? Was Ms. Weigel wearing her seatbelt?
      carnut0913
      • 6 Months Ago
      I've had the engine shut down on me in the middle lane going 60-65mph and managed to cut across 2 lanes to get to the right shoulder. I've had a car die in town and been able to stop and not get hit GM absolutely has culpability here but all those who believe in evolution have to accept the natural selection and personal resposibility as well. It's entirely possible and probable to survive something like this happening. The only thing GM should be 100% on the hook for is when there's an accident where the airbags didn't go in the front because of the keychain. Diminished % from there
      Chineywhale
      • 6 Months Ago
      I think the question here is: Did the lack of power steering, power brakes, and the panic caused by the unexpected and sudden cut off/reduction in driver controls result in the driver crashing the car? The ignition turned to the off position prior to the impact (evidenced by the airbag's failure to deploy), which would reduce the driver's ability to control the car. This could possibly result in a car crash. Also, I do not think its irrelevant as to whether the rear passenger had her seatbelt on or not. The ignition switch is to blame for setting off chain of events which lead to the crash and that's the only thing that matters in my mind. If it weren't for that, the crash may not have happened and the little girl would be alive.
        krusshall
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Chineywhale
        A driver needs to be prepared for unexpected instances where the engine stops whether it's the accidental turn of the ignition switch or a broken timing belt or running out of gas or ingesting water or snow into the intake or engine seizure from no oil or who knows what else. The situation is not isolated to this ignition switch issue. So yes while GM is responsible for creating an additional possibility for power loss, the driver is still responsible for their action or inaction because the brakes and steering are still operable.
        Michael Scoffield
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Chineywhale
        I drove dozens of vehicles with no power steering or even breaks here in Europe. Actually, in an Opel Astra with power steering and brakes (GM car), when going downhill, I used to cut the ignition myself to save gas, which stopped the power steering and brakes, and I was fine. Losing these should not lead to a crash in the hands of any decent driver. These that died were clearly idiots.
          Chineywhale
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Michael Scoffield
          There are too many variables and not everyone may be as good of a driver as you are. That fact is the car did not operate in the manner it was supposed to which increased the risk of the driver loosing control of the car and crashing, which occurred here. There are too many variables. When the ignition is off you can't shift from D to P (a possible way to stop the car), the steering wheel may lock (a feature to prevent the car from being stolen when parked), and an unexpected change in driver controls. The mere fact that the car turned off while in motion is enough to cause some people to panic. What if the power steering went out, which will require an increase in steering effort, and the driver panicked and provided to much effort which caused the car to loose control? I think people are focusing on whether the driver should have been able to react to the defect when the issue is there was a defect so GM is liable for the crash, which two people not one died in.
          Genericbeer
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Michael Scoffield
          Chineywhale, you wouldn't want to shift into P while moving (either lock up the driveline or break the parking pawl in your transmission). And the steering wheel will only lock in P.
          Michael Byrne
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Michael Scoffield
          Cutting the power assistance willingly and having it cut out of it's own accord unexpectedly are absolutely not the same thing.
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