Local mother urges owners of recalled GM vehicles to take action

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Action News reports on a how a local mother is trying to make a difference  and get local GM owners to get their cars fixed so they can’t endure the tragedy that her daughter did. 

Lizzie Norton, the mother of 54-year-old Jacqueline Searcy Clemons, has recently learned that behind a local GM dealership, there is a line of recalled vehicles that are waiting to be fixed.
Ms. Clemons died in a crash along I-295 in 2012. Clemons was driving a 2007 Chevy Cobalt, that Norton says she purchased two years prior. Unknown to the family at the time, was a problem with the vehicles ignition switch that GM engineers identified in 2004, but did not issue a recall for until nearly a decade later.  According to an FHP crash report, Clemons ran off the road “for unknown reasons.” Norton said the results of the investigation never make sense because Clemons was always a safe driver, wasn’t speeding, and was wearing her seatbelt. She now wonders if her daughter’s death could have been prevented if a recall had been issued earlier.

This week, General Motors President Mary Barra apologized for waiting a decade before recalling the ignition switch that turns the vehicle off, disabling the electrical system which controls airbag sensors.  “Something went wrong with our process in this instance and terrible things happened.”  The company has tied the problem to at least 12 deaths and 31 accidents, but has not released any of those victim’s names. Instead, it has recalled 1.6 million vehicles.  But the Center For Auto Safety says there may be as many at 303 victims, like Clemons, whose airbag never deployed.

Norton may never know if Clemons accident was caused by the switch, but is still pleading with others to protect themselves by reacting to the recall warning, and Action News found many already are.  “We’re holding onto the vehicles until we have the parts,” says Michael Poremba, Service Manager of George Moore Chevrolet in Jacksonville.  Poremba says vehicles are lining up outside his service department for the new ignition switch that hasn’t even been made yet.  “We hope that they are here by April.”

Until then, vehicles like Bobbi’s Sweazea’s 2006 Cobalt are sitting in the service department lot, because she’s not willing to take any chances.  “I wanted to take care of this as soon as possible because we’re starting a family, I’m pregnant and don’t want to put the baby in any danger.”  Sweazea called GM as soon as she received the recall notice, with a question.  “I don’t understand why it took so long to issue the warning.”  But she says it didn’t take long for George Moore Chevrolet’s service department to put her in a rental car until her vehicle is corrected. GM recommends that recalled vehicle owners who decide to continue driving their cars, use only a single key in the ignition. If drivers feel unsafe, Poremba says they should call a local GM dealership, make an appointment, and have some patience.  “The part isn’t difficult to make or install, but it could take some time because we’re not sure how many local vehicles are affected by the recall,” said Poremba.

The following vehicle models are included in the ignition switch recall:
2005 “ 07 Chevrolet Cobalt
2005 – 07 Pontiac G5
2003 “ 07 Saturn Ions
2006 “ 07 Chevrolet HHRs
2006 “ 07 Pontiac Solstice
200 7 –  Saturn Sky
Related Post: GM Recall too late to avoid deaths even though they knew of the issue since 2001

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