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TODAY   |  March 14, 2014

Parents of victim react to new GM documents

As documents emerge indicating that General Motors could have made a partial fix to a dangerous defect years ago, but made a “business decision” not to, the parents of a woman who died in a GM car react. NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez reports.

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>> falloutover the massive general motors recall is now growing. could the problem with faulty ignition switches have been fixed years ago? gabe gutierrez is at headquarters in detroit. good morning.

>> reporter: matt, good morning. an nbc news investigation found that back in 2005 , nine years ago, gm had developed a partial fix to that ignition switch problem, but decided not to widely implement it, making what was termed a business decision. four years ago this week, brook melton never made it home. it was her 29th birthday.

>> we stay in a constant state of grief.

>> the '05 chevy cobalt was among the 1.6 million cars gm recalled last month. according to black box data, her ignition had shut off, turning off the power steering system and brakes.

>> she hydro planed, went across two lanes of traffic and was hit in the side by another car.

>> i kept thinking, it's her birthday, this can't happen. it's her birthday.

>> ken and beth are among the families who have sued the carmaker. they've settled for an undisclosed sum.

>> i'm still in shock and boiling over with anger.

>> from their civil lawsuit against gm, deposition showeded that this 2005 , gm proposed a solution making it less likely. changing this key slot to a smaller hole, so it couldn't support a heavy chain that might make the key move around, but a top engineer made a decision, not to make the partial fix, a fix experts would have said would have cost about a dollar per car. he said he did not agree that the car was unsafe. we went to see him. and asked him to clarify his system. why did it take so long for these recalls to happen?

>> i can't answer this question.

>> a high level executive tells nbc --

>> that information was available so long ago up to ten years ago. our daughter might still be here today.

>> reporter: this morning, gm is pushing back hard against an analysis commission. that analysis claims that there have been more than 300 deaths in two recalled gm models since 2003 due to failed air bags , but it is unclear how many of those deaths were related to faulty ignition switches. back to you.

>> gabe gutierrez in detroit this morning. thanks so much.