GM offers assistance in wreck investigation

The Associated Press

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LILLINGTON — General Motors has offered to help the N.C. Highway Patrol in its investigation of a traffic accident that killed a high school teacher.

The Fayetteville Observer reports troopers are considering a theory that the 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt driven by 39-year-old William Neil Parnell III was among those included in recalls for faulty ignition switches.

The ignition switches in older-model small cars such as the Cobalt and Saturn Ion can slip out of the “run” position and shut down the cars’ engines. That disables the power-assisted steering and brakes and can cause drivers to lose control. It also disables the air bags.

Parnell was killed last week when his car hit a stopped school bus on U.S. 401. Investigators found no evidence that Parnell tried to stop before the collision.

Investigators did not recover a cellphone from the car, Trooper Mike Baker said. Investigators had said the wreck was caused by driver inattention.

“Basically, I think what happened is that GM received a complaint and they got in touch with us,” Baker said of the GM offer to help.