Crash Victim's Family: GM Issued Recall Too Late
by Chris Conte
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Family of a Nashville nursing student killed in a crash along Interstate 24 in 2009 said they believe a faulty ignition switch now being recalled by General Motors likely lead to her death.
"Sayde" Chansuthus was driving back to Nashville from a party on December 31 around 2:30am when crash reports showed her 2006 Chevy Cobalt hydroplaned and careened off the highway. Sayde died instantly after her car hit a tree but pictures from investigators showed the 25-year-old's airbags did not deploy and her seatbelt, which was buckled, went loose.
"What upset me the most was that the feature which was supposed to save her life, never worked," Sayde's brother David explained in an interview on Thursday.
Crash reports obtained by NewsChannel 5 showed that in the moments leading up to Sayde's crash when she was traveling 66 miles-per-hour, her Cobalt's "Power Mode Status" was "Off" and her "Crank Ignition Switch Level" was "Inactive;" meaning that since her car was essentially turned off when it hit a bank of trees, her airbags and seatbelt were inactive.
GM has now issued a nation-wide recall of ignition switches that would've included Sayde's Cobalt.
"Something definitely went wrong, something happened. She was driving and the power went out. She was basically a sitting duck," David said about the crash.
Reports showed GM may have known about the problem as early as 2001 but did nothing to fix the problem. As many as 750,000 vehicles are now being recalled.
"If they'd known about this problem before hand, before her accident it's very irresponsible it's a tragedy," he added.
David and his family settled with GM a few years back partially because Sayde was drinking that night in 2009 but he still can't understand why it's taken the company five years to issue a nationwide recall.
"If that was the reason why her car shut off and hit the tree absolutely -- she'd still be here."
More information if you believe your car may be impacted by the recall.