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Local family sues GM over deadly crash
Hamlin, N.Y. The estate of a Hamlin man is suing General Motors claiming he was killed in December by a defective ignition switch the same defect that was part of a large recall.
GM issused a recall for the key switch on Chevrolet Cobalts in February two months after 23-year-old Daniel Hollaert, Jr. was killed in a crash.
Its something that could have been fixed before this had to happen to him, said Julia Egan. One of Hallaerts friends, Egan also drove a Cobalt but he car has been in the shop for three monthswaiting for parts to replace the defective key switch.
According the 39-page suit, the ignition switched from the run position and caused Hollaert to lose control on his drive into work. Hollaert crossed the center line on Ridge Road in Orleans County and hit a school bus head-on.
A few weeks after that fatal crash, Egan started to have trouble with her Cobalt. It's shut off on me when I'm like driving, going from reverse to park and then just shut off completely just keys still forward and everything.
The steering wheel locked up and Egan slammed on the brakes but nothing happened the ignition switched off, she had no control over the moving car.
Thankfully I didnt have it when I was going on the expressway or anything - it was just on side roads and no one was behind me because if there was I would have gotten into an accident because of it, Egan said.
After Hollaerts death, police said they didnt know what caused the crashthere was snow on the ground but investigators noted the road was clear.
According to the lawsuit, the airbags did not deploy because the car was turned offHollaert died at the scene.
The suit claims GM first learned about the defect in 2001after development tests for the Saturn Ion, a sister model to the Cobalt. The paperwork states in 2005, General Motors knew that the Chevrolet Cobalt had an ignition problem but only notified the dealers, not the general public.
Egan said if the company had acted sooner, her friend would still be alive. He was always a great kid, its terrible that happened to him because he was so well liked by everyone.
Filed in Monroe County Supreme Court Wednesday, the suit asks for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. GM and parts supplier Delphi Automotive Systems, along with two local car dealerships are named in the suit.