BOISE -- General Motors fired 15 people and disciplined others after an internal investigation on the delayed recall of faulty ignition switches led to at least 13 deaths.
GM is hoping to repair all of the cars it has recalled by October, and it's also beginning a victim's compensation program
An Idaho mom is one of the families missing a loved one after a crash in one of the recalled vehicles. Rosie Cortinas' son, Amador Cortinas, died last October driving a 2005 Chevy Cobalt, just a couple miles from his home in Homedale. He was the designated driver for his friend Daniel Valadez, who owned the car.
"He hit head-on with an oncoming vehicle, he and his passenger were both killed on impact," said Rosie Cortinas.
The driver of the car Amador hit survived, but was injured, however Amador and his friend both died on the scene.
Rosie Cortinas said authorities ruled out alcohol or phone use as the cause of the accident. Her family was thinking that perhaps Amador fell asleep behind the wheel. A few months later, Rosie Cortinas got a call from a Maryland mom. The woman found out about Amador's accident online and contacted Rosie Cortinas to tell her that her daughter died in a similar crash, also in a Chevy Cobalt.
"I believe that she was just put there, and it was meant to be because by the following Monday, the recall came out on television," Cortinas said.
Rosie Cortinas said it clicked, the details of her son's accident matched other stories of crashes due to GM's faulty ignition switch. She went to Washington, D.C. and spoke to GM CEO Mary Barra, along with several other families who lost loved ones in GM vehicles that are part of the recall.
"She was just very generic towards all of us," said Rosie Cortinas about her interaction with Barra. "I don't think she realizes how hard it is to lose a loved one, and even more a young daughter or son that's full of life."
Of the several families that went to Washington, D.C., Rosie Cortinas was the only one from Idaho.
"I was proud to do it," she said. "It was very painful; it just was so painful to talk about my son, as it is now. But you know, amongst everything I knew, I had to do something because I was the voice for my son and all these others. So I was proud to do that and to be able to represent even the state of Idaho."
Rosie Cortinas says no amount of money will fill the hole left by her son.
"I haven't gone a day since he passed away not thinking about him and not wanting him back," she said.
She wants GM to do more.
"They're just treating them as statistics, as a number and a file number, and our loved ones are not just numbers, they're human beings, they're lives just like everyone else's," said Rosie Cortinas. "To lose someone, there's no number that can ever take the place of a loved one."
Rosie Cortinas said her son's death is not in vain if raising awareness about this recall can help save other lives.
"He had a dream, and his story had just begun and these people, this corporation, just took their lives away because they could have prevented all of this," she said. "It would have cost them a few cents to fix these, the repair on these ignition switches and they didn't do it."
Rosie Cortinas is bilingual and says GM should do more the get the word out about the recall, in different languages and for the hearing impaired.
She stays in touch with the other families she went to Washington, D.C. with, and they're planning a trip to Detroit for the shareholders' meeting, which is scheduled for June 10.