One GM-related death happened in Connecticut

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WASHINGTON, Conn.–By now everyone’s heard of the General Motors-ignition-switch issue, and how the company’s deception resulted in several deaths.

On Monday, The New York Times reported that one of the 13 who was killed from the faulty vehicle mechanics was Jean Averill, who died when her Saturn Ion went off the road and crashed into a tree in Washington, Connecticut in 2003.

Newly released documents show that GM investigated Averill’s crash at the time and found that the safety defect was to blame for her death, but the company never released that information to the public, or even the woman’s family. In fact, the family only learned that Jean was a victim of the issue after The New York Times called them for comment on a story.

The deadline to be compensated for issues related to the ignition switch problem through the fund administered by Kenneth Feinberg is quickly approaching, and if the newspaper hadn’t reached out to the Averill family they may not have known in time, or ever, to be paid out from the fund.

On Tuesday Sen. Richard Blumenthal called out GM for its lack of honesty, and encouraged the company to call all known victims before the “arbitrary” Dec. 31 deadline for the fund.

Here is some of what Blumenthal said:

General Motors’ failure to inform the Averill family of its clear internal determination – that Jean’s death resulted from the company’s continuing use of a defective ignition switch – undercuts everything it has said about its good faith and integrity. If the company is really sincere in seeking to restore and retain public trust, and embrace a culture of honesty and safety, it must immediately come clean and contact every possible victim’s family. GM must encourage and support every family in applying to the compensation fund. For the Averill family, and any other victim’s family, it should abandon the artificial, arbitrary deadline of December 31.

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