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(WASHINGTON) -- Lara Gass, 27, was headed to work in March when her 2004 Saturn Ion rear-ended a tractor-trailer on a Virginia highway. Her airbag failed to deploy.
The third-year law student at Washington and Lee University was driving a car that was recalled due to a faulty ignition switch, which can shut off car power and airbags without warning.
In February, General Motors recalled more than 2.6 million vehicles due to the problem. At least 13 people have died due to reasons linked to the problem.
Jay Gass said he received the recall notice in the mail one month before his daughter’s death. In an emotional interview with ABC News, Jay Gass said, “GM is relying on a piece of paper through the United States Postal Service to make it to an address that they have on file for that car and maybe not even the driver of that car.”
“I tried to get the car fixed, but I couldn’t. They didn’t have the parts,” he said.
After his daughter was killed, Gass received another letter from the automaker saying they now had the parts.
Jay Gass and his wife Gerri were among the families of victims of the GM crashes who were on Capitol Hill Thursday to hear GM CEO Mary Barra testify before Congress for the fourth time.
On Wednesday, Barra declined to meet with victims’ families while she was in D.C., but Jay Gass still had some questions for her.
“I would ask her what her definition of leadership is because I have about nine criteria of leadership and one of them is integrity and we know that GM at this point has zero integrity,” he said.
Gass said he believes no one is safe while these cars are still on the road. “These cars on the road next to you. These cars are coming at you in the other lane. They are like Scud missiles. They could stop at any moment,” he warned.
Disappointed with GM’s handling of the recall, Gass has resorted to warning drivers of recalled vehicles when he sees them at the gas pump.
From the moment he heard about his daughter’s death, he and his family decided to celebrate their daughter’s life, albeit too short, Gass said Wednesday, ahead of the congressional hearing.
Choking back tears, Gass said, “Parents' job is to protect their children. GM is not allowing me to protect my child.”
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