Family sues G.M. after head-on collision kills two, paralyzes boy

CBS News has been following the recall of more than two and a half million GM cars in connection with a defect that's killed at least 13 people.

An ignition switch malfunction can cause the car to shut down suddenly. On Tuesday a family who lost two loved ones filed suit.

On April 2, 2009, a Chevy Cobalt was hit head-on by a drunk driver an hour and a half outside Pittsburgh.

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A drunk driver hit this Chevy Cobalt head on
CBS News
Seventy-three-year-old Esther Matthews and her 13-year-old granddaughter Grace Eliot were killed.

They were not wearing seat belts but the airbags never deployed.

The lone survivor was Matthews' great-grandson - an 11-month-old baby boy who was in the backseat.

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Grace Eliot died
CBS News
"They said he's paralyzed and you know as a parent that's like, you can't even comprehend, like, my kid can't walk," said his mother, Marie Buzard. "He just learned."

Trenton Buzard was kept sedated for two weeks after the accident.

Until late last year, he needed tubes to breathe and eat.

Now six, Trenton has a wheelchair though he prefers to crawl.

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Trenton Buzard needed tubes to breathe and eat until last year
CBS News
"GM come to pick up the car, and took the car from her uncle's house, and we never heard anything of it," said his father, Robbie Buzard.

"Never said a word, never said a word to us," he said.

"If them airbags was able to deploy, I believe they'd still be standing here today," he said.

A report filed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 10 months after the crash shows the Cobalt's ignition switch was in the accessory position. That means the airbags, power brakes and power steering were not working.

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Trenton Buzard
CBS News
Has anyone ever said sorry to the family?

"Never," Marie Buzard said. "Never. Not even an email, or a phone call, a letter, nothing. Nothing."

The Buzards say they're speaking out, in part, because they don't want others to go through what they have.

"This is a lifetime problem for my son," Robbie Buzard said. "Not only for me and my wife, but for him. He has to live with this every single day of his life, and it's not right."

Regarding the lawsuit filed today - GM issued this statement: "While we can't address specific suits, (GM CEO) Mary (Barra) and others have expressed GM's regret and deep sympathy for all of those affected by the recall."

And this week, GM is re-sending a letter to owners of these cars saying the cars are still safe to drive, they say, as long as owners use a key only on the key ring.

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Trenton Buzard, now 6, was paralyzed and uses a wheelchair
CBS News

  • Jeff Glor

    Jeff Glor was named anchor of the Sunday edition of the "CBS Evening News" in January 2012 and Special Correspondent for "CBS This Morning" in November 2011.

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