General Motors Excluded Crash Deaths from Ignition Inquiry

DETROIT (AP) -- General Motors excluded the Saturn Ion from a Feb. 13 recall for faulty ignition switches after engineers inexplicably failed to look at fatal crashes involving the compact car.

The Ion was recalled two weeks later, after another inquiry found four crashes involving 2004 Ions that killed four people. The omission was revealed in a GM recall chronology released by U.S. safety regulators Wednesday night.

According to the chronology, GM employees were told about most of the Ion crash deaths within two weeks of when they occurred. So GM knew about the deaths but didn't consider them until this year.

The exclusion of the deaths will likely be scrutinized by two congressional committees and the Justice Department, which are investigating why it took so long for GM to recall the cars.

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