HAMMOND, Wisc. – A Wisconsin family who lost their daughter in a car crash caused by a faulty GM ignition switch welcomed a revealing report Thursday.
But the family of Natasha Weigel says more work must be done before they're confident companies will be held responsible for their actions.
"We think this is just the start," said Ken Rimer from his Hammond home on Thursday afternoon.
Rimer is the stepfather of 18-year-old Weigel who died in 2006 when the Chevy Cobalt she was riding in suddenly stalled, the result of a bad ignition switch. Amy Rademaker, 15, also died in the crash.
"Two young lives were lost at such a young age that didn't need to," Rimer said.
On Thursday morning, GM's CEO – Mary Barra – addressed more than a thousand GM employees in Detroit, ahead of the company's release of the investigative report. Barra called the report, "troubling," and added that "incompetence and neglect" caused the failure to recall millions of cars with bad ignition switches. That failure is believed to have resulted in the loss of at least 13 lives.
"We simply didn't do our job, we failed these customers," Barra said.
Rimer and his wife -- Natasha's mother, Jayne Weigel – have struggled with the fact GM does not count their daughter among the 13 official victims. The company is only counting those deaths caused by the failure of the airbag to deploy – which also happened as a result of the ignition switch failure.
"The accident didn't happen because the airbag didn't deploy. The accident happened because [of] the ignition switch," RImer said.
"Two girls in the same vehicles. They both died of injuries from that same accident but only one of them is counted, and that's very frustrating on our part," Rimer said, referring to the fact the official count does include Rademaker, who was sitting in the front seat while Natasha was in the back. The car's driver survived the crash with injuries.
As for Natasha's family, Jayne Weigel and Ken Rimer will continue to seek change in the wake of the GM debacle. They're hoping for new laws that would require companies to immediately release information about potential safety concerns. And next week, they're also going to Detroit to demonstrate outside the annual meeting of GM shareholders.
"All of this caused a lot of death and suffering, and we just want to make sure it doesn't happen again," Rimer said.