Families of General Motors crash victims bring their anguish to Washington

Apr 02 2014, 17:02 IST
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The group timed their visit around the hearings to put a face on the recall investigation and those responsible  accountable. (AP) The group timed their visit around the hearings to put a face on the recall investigation and those responsible accountable. (AP)
SummaryThe group timed their visit around the hearings to put a face on the recall investigation and those responsible accountable.

transparent with you, with our regulators, and with our customers," Barra told a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Tuesday afternoon.

Barra is due to appear before a Senate panel on Wednesday.

The parents gathered in Washington did not press Barra for answers but rather for action to prevent more loss of life.

The group met with Barra on Monday night at GM's Washington offices and took turns telling her how each of their children were lost. Every parent was in tears and Barra dabbed her eyes with a Kleenex, said Laura Christian, who lost her daughter Amber Rose in a 2005 Chevy Cobalt crash in Maryland in 2005.

Christian told Reuters the group pressed Barra to mandate that the recalled cars are taken off the road, but that Barra declined to do so and claimed that the cars were safe if driven with light key rings.

Cherie Sharkey of New York lost her son Michael Sharkey when his 2006 Chevy Cobalt crashed and burst into flames. At the press conference on Tuesday morning, she held a picture taken just before the 2012 accident of the two of them dancing and smiling." said sorry, but it wasn't enough," Sharkey said of her meeting with the CEO. "I look at this picture and I'm just completely not what I was anymore."

As the parents have put their stories in the public eye over the short two-day span in which Barra testifies, the group has gotten an up-close look at Washington-style public relations.

They have been rushed to meetings with members of Congress, live TV interviews, press conferences, congressional hearings, and closed-door meetings with government regulators.

Ken Rimer traveled from Wisconsin to honor his stepdaughter, Natasha Weigel, who died in a 2005 Chevy Cobalt crash in 2006. Before the trip, he told Reuters he didn't know "how Washington works" and that he expected "to get pushed around."

But Rimer said running from place to place and sharing their stories has brought the group some solidarity.

"For those who lose a child, it's a special club that no one wants to be a member of," said Rimer.

MH370

Steve Wang, a representative from the committee for relatives of Chinese passengers onboard the Malaysia Airlines MH370 talks to journalists after a closed door meeting with Malaysian officials via teleconference in Beijing, China. A Malaysian police investigation into the pilots of the missing Malaysian jet might turn up

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