published Saturday, April 12th, 2014

Georgia parents say GM knew of defect in daughter' car

  • photo
    General Motors CEO Mary Barra testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington in this April 2, 2014, photo.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

ATLANTA — Parents of a Georgia teenager who suffered a severe brain injury in a 2009 car crash say in a new federal lawsuit that General Motors knew of a defect in her car but took steps to conceal it.

Alexina and William Van Pelt of Evans say their daughter Haley has incurred more than $1 million in medical bills after she crashed into a tree. They say her 2003 Saturn Ion lost control because of a defective key system.

The Van Pelts claim a defect caused the key in then 17-year-old Haley's car to turn from the run to accessory/off position, shutting the engine off.

Their lawsuit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court.

Ignition switch defects are at the heart of a Congressional subcommittee's investigation into how GM handled safety issues.

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