Western Wisconsin man protests outside GM headquarters after ste - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Western Wisconsin man protests outside GM headquarters after step-daughter's fatal crash

(CNN) - A western Wisconsin man has returned from Detroit, where he protested outside the headquarters of General Motors.

Ken Rimer is from Hammond. His stepdaughter was one of two teens killed in a crash in St. Croix County in eight years ago. Ken continues to fight to find answers.

A small but impassioned group of protesters at GM headquarters.  

"I hate being here outside this building," says Laura Christian. "It just reminds me that she's never coming back."

Christian acknowledges her 16-year-old daughter was drinking and not wearing a seatbelt when the car she was driving crashed. But she believes the ignition switch defect caused the crash.

"I was supposed to have the rest of my life with her and I'm not going to have that," said Christian.
Ken Rimer drove 11 hours to stand here as GM shareholders met inside. He believes the crash his step-daughter died in was caused by a faulty ignition switch.

"This is their home court, this is where we need to be," said Rimer. "These two young girls died because of what they didn't do, so we want to make sure that they remember what happened." 

The shareholder meeting took place just days after GM's internal investigation report was released, uncovering a "pattern of incompetence and neglect," and showing that people at GM knew about the deadly defect and did nothing about it.

Conducted by former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas, the report said, "…the switch was so plagued with problems that the engineer who designed it labeled it then 'the switch from hell.'"

At GM's annual meeting no shareholder asked about the recall or deaths, but CEO Mary Barra apologized again, saying, "I know there are no words that can capture and explain the grief and pain that each of you feel."

GM also told CNN, "We made serious mistakes in the past and as a result we're making significant changes in our company to ensure they never happen again."

GM says 13 people died as a result of the defective switch.  They're only counting frontal-impact crashes where airbags did not deploy, therefore only counting victims in the front seats.

"Why are those that died in the backseat of a car because of the ignition switch defect not counted on the list?" asked CNN reporter Poppy Harlow.

"Our goal is to make sure everyone who was impacted by the ignition switch issue is appropriately compensated as it relates to those who lost loved ones or those who had had serious physical injury," answered Barra. "That's what we're focused on."

Rimer's step-daughter Natasha Weigel was sitting in the back seat when she died.

"The loss of life is something you just can't describe," said Rimer. "The loss of a child. It was a simple fix, they could have fixed this problem before it even happened, these two girls did not need to die in vain."

"I want to see GM being held criminally liable at least the people who knew and did nothing," said Christian.
Rimer is among those who filed a wrongful death lawsuit against GM.  It was filed in Minnesota, where the vehicle was bought.

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