March 31, 2014 at 10:43 pm

GM CEO Barra meets with accident victims' family members, apologizes

General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra met Monday evening with about 25 family members of victims who have lost loved ones in accidents tied to GM’s recall of nearly 2.59 million vehicles with faulty ignition switches in what was described as an emotional meeting.

During the meeting, each of the families was given a chance to talk about their children. Some brought photographs and poems.

“Kleenex was used by everyone,” including Barra, said Ken Rimer, whose stepdaughter, Natasha Weigel, 18, was killed in a Chevrolet Cobalt crash in 2006 in Wisconsin.

Rimer said Barra apologized directly to the families for what had happened — something so many of them had been waiting to hear.

“She’s a parent as well,” Rimer said. “You could tell it was genuine.”

The meeting was estimated to have lasted about 75 minutes. GM’s general counsel Mike Miliken and Bob Ferguson, the head of Cadillac who has been leading the company’s response in Washington, D.C., also attended.

Texas lawyer Bob Hilliard, who is representing many families including the Rimers in a civil lawsuit against GM, sent Barra and GM legal counsel a letter Saturday seeking a meeting with the families.

Earlier Monday, Barra met with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Sen. Amy Kloubuchar, D-Minn. Blumenthal has been an outspoken critic of Barra and has urged GM to contribute at least $1 billion to a victims’ fund.

mburden@detroitnews.com
(313) 222-2319
Twitter.com/MBurden_DN