Last updated: March 24. 2014 5:54PM - 3235 Views
By Andrew M. Seder aseder@civitasmedia.com

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General Motors has contacted an attorney for a West Scranton family that lost their daughter in an accident in 2010 and is coordinating the return of her vehicle’s black box. The news comes less than one week after U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey reached out to the auto giant and the National Highway Traffic Safety Association in an effort to provide answers for the parents of Kelly Erin Ruddy.

Ruddy succumbed to her injuries after losing control of her 2005 Chevy Cobalt on Jan. 10, 2010.

In his letter, Toomey wrote that Leo and Mary Theresa Ruddy received a GM recall letter about Chevy Cobalts three months after their daughter’s death. Mary Theresa reached out to the auto company to see if the deadly accident was related to the recall. GM sent investigators who took countless photos and also left with the black box from the damaged car.

“That was the last direct contact Mrs. Ruddy has had with anyone from your company,” Toomey wrote.

More than four years later, the Ruddys are still looking for answers and Toomey has taken up their fight.

“I find this lack of responsiveness totally unacceptable,” he wrote in his letter to GM last Wednesday. “I request your personal assurance that GM will contact Mr. & Mrs. Ruddy immediately and return the car’s black box immediately.”

In his strongly-worded letter to the NHTSA, Toomey spoke of a New York Times article which reported the agency failed to fully investigate claims from customers about faulty and potentially dangerous defects in 2004 and 2005 GM models.

“NHTSA’s apparent failure to appropriately investigate these reports is unacceptable,” Toomey wrote. “If numerous media reports are correct, NHTSA’s inaction allowed hundreds of thousands of unsafe vehicles to continue operating on America’s motorways and exposed millions of drivers to unnecessary danger which ultimately resulted in horrific and untimely deaths.

“One tragic incident that might have been prevented was the death of Pennsylvania resident Kelly Erin Ruddy … I was shocked to learn that despite the tragic accident and repeated attempts by Leo and Mary Theresa to make contact, no one from NHTSA ever reached out to speak with them and their concerns. Instead, NHTSA sent impersonal form letters with boilerplate language stating that the agency was uninterested in investigating the issue further. … Such a commitment and explanation are the least NHTSA can do to help Mr. and Mrs. Ruddy, and all those citizens who were ignored after contacting NHTSA, hoping to prevent further tragic deaths.”

In the four-paragraph letter GM Vice President for Global Government Relations Lee R. Godown sent to Toomey Monday, the official told Toomey of the contact between the company and the family and offered any additional information to the senator.

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