Behind the most recent death linked to the GM recall

Hasaya Chansuthus, 25, died in December 2009 after an accident in her purple 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt SS.

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DETROIT — Common Motors says the last fatality in a frontal-effect crash it has linked to a recall of defective ignition switches occurred a lot more than 4 many years in the past, in December 2009.

At 2:29 a.m. on Dec. 31, 2009, Hasaya Chansuthus was driving home to Nashville from a celebration at her boyfriend’s property when she sideswiped a Volkswagen Golf in the rain.

Her purple 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt SS ran off the right shoulder of westbound Interstate 24 and hit a tree, according to a police report obtained by Automotive Information. Police advised her household that she hit the steering wheel and died of blunt-force trauma upon affect.

The Cobalt’s airbags didn’t deploy. Tire tracks foremost to the tree showed no signs that the 25-yr-outdated nursing student tried to steer the vehicle away ahead of the car crashed.

“We have been robbed of our sister,” her brother, Brennan Chansuthus, mentioned in an interview Thursday. “She didn’t have a chance. All the safety characteristics that have been supposed to hold her protected did not work.”

The family members sued GM in December 2010 and reached a confidential settlement 3 months later, in accordance to court information in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

A GM spokesman, Greg Martin, declined to verify that Hasaya Chansuthus is amid the 12 deaths it has linked to the recall of 1.6 million autos globally. GM has mentioned it is aware of one particular fatality in December 2009 in which a Cobalt airbag failed to deploy in a frontal crash, and none since then.

The crash is the only one among the Early Warning Reporting data submitted to the government by GM that occurred in December 2009 that concerned a recalled Cobalt and cited airbags as a factor.

A lot of, if not all, of the other 11 deaths that GM has linked to the defective switches occurred ahead of the automaker emerged from bankruptcy safety in July 2009. The terms of GM’s bankruptcy shield it from liability for crashes that occurred just before that date.

‘Customer first’;

Even though that indicates GM could encounter no additional legal exposure related to the deaths it is mindful of currently, Martin previously has explained: “Our principle throughout this method has been to the put the consumer first, and that will continue to guidebook us.”

On Feb. 27, 2 weeks right after GM announced the Cobalt recall, Daryl Chansuthus, Hasaya’s mom, submitted a complaint to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“I needed to make sure you had been conscious of my daughter’s death in a Cobalt in which the airbags did not deploy, the seatbelt did not lock, and that we strongly recommend, even though GM in no way confirmed this, had a defective ignition switch,” she wrote in the complaint, which is accessible on NHTSA’s Net internet site.

Brennan Chansuthus said his household discovered reviews online shortly right after the crash suggesting that other Cobalts had been in equivalent crashes and that the ignition switch could be defective. He explained they have been glad to understand of the recall last month but wish it had took place in time to stop the loss they seasoned.

“We really don’;t want other families to go through what we had to go by means of,” he said. “It was really irresponsible of them if they had recognized about it all these years. We knew something was plainly wrong with it.”

Brennan Chansuthus, 25, said his father died in a car crash 12 many years before his sister was killed. He spoke to Automotive Information on behalf of the loved ones simply because he mentioned his mother even now gets too overwhelmed by emotion to discuss his sister’s death.


Not like a number of other people who died when the airbags in their Cobalt failed, Hasaya Chansuthus was wearing a seat belt. Her car is pictured here about a week following the accident.

Wearing seat belt

In accordance to the police report, Hasaya Chansuthus had a blood-alcohol content material of .19 at the time of the crash, more than double the legal limit in Tennessee. But not like a number of other individuals who died when the airbags in their Cobalt failed, she was sporting a seat belt. Police stated she was driving the freeway’s pace limit of 70 mph.

Although her determination to drink can be blamed for the crash, her brother said, it had nothing to do with the car’s failure to prevent her death.

Mentioned the family’s lawyer, Rob Gritton: “The airbag is nevertheless supposed to deploy irrespective of the purpose for shedding handle of the vehicle.”

You can attain Nick Bunkley at nbunkley@crain.com. — Comply with Nick on
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