"Ford once again is another automaker trying to fight off a costly recall at the expense of the American public," said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety. "There's no reason why these vehicles couldn't have been recalled earlier and spare the public who knows what in how many crashes and deaths."
The government video of the Windstar test has now been put on line by Justine Bowman, in hopes that word will spread.
"I felt like I had to do this," said Bowman. "I know, I've lived it, I need to make sure that people are aware and nobody else gets hurt."
In a statement, a Ford spokesperson said the automaker's evaluations at the time of of NHTSA's investigation led to the conclusion that "a rear axle fracture was not expected to result in loss of vehicle control, and the likelihood of a related accident or injury was extremely low."
Said Justine Bowman, "Having my oldest daughter come to me and tell me, 'I just want to hug him and I can't. I will never get to hug him again'-- It's not right. It could have been prevented."
However, said the spokesperson, "When Ford received more recent allegations of additional accidents in the summer of 2010, we re-evaluated the potential effect of rear axle fracture and decided to conduct a safety recall."
So far, only about 15 percent of the Windstar vans affected by the recall have been brought in to be fixed.