GM Settlement Money Going to Auto Safety Research
By Katheryn Hayes Tucker
Ken and Beth Melton have become sponsors of a nonprofit organization that compiles data on automobile safety complaints nationwide. The current edition of the Safety Institute’s Vehicle Safety Watch List discloses their investment and says it is being made in memory of their daughter, Brooke Melton.
She was a 29-year-old nurse who died in 2010 after her 2005 Chevy Cobalt crashed. Police initially said she lost control because of wet roads. But her parents hired Lance Cooper of the Cooper Firm in Marietta, whose investigation found the faulty ignition switch that turned off while the car was running full speed on the highway, causing a loss of power steering and brakes and shutting off the air bags. The same defect was found in other cases involving other GM cars. Ultimately, the Meltons’ case led to 30 million recalls.
They settled with GM in March for a confidential amount, but revelations by both sides indicated the payment was at least $6 million.