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Woman who protested defective car sales in Kirkland dies in accident

MARSHALL, N.Y. (WKTV) - A woman known to many for devoting much of her time last year to protesting an auto sale and repair company she said sold her a lemon and refused to fix it, died over the weekend in a motor vehicle accident.

Oneida County Sheriff's Deputies say Abigail Murphy, 21, of Waterville was driving north on Hanover Road in the Town of Marshall when her car left the roadway, striking a culvert, and then catching on fire.

Murphy was the only occupant of the vehicle and no other cars were involved.

An autopsy was conducted Sunday morning at St. Elizabeth Medical Center and the cause of death was determined to be skull fractures and brain injuries due to blunt force trauma.

Motorists may remember seeing Murphy along Route 233 in Kirkland last October in front of Auto One, telling everyone that the dealership sold her what she considered to be "a lemon."

"It breaks down within 36 hours and it needs it entire engine replaced," said Murphy at the time, also an Oneonta college student.

Murphy said she purchased her Saab convertible last May and that since that time, "the engine has blown and the transmission has gone bad."

"Absolutely every single thing that could go wrong with a car is wrong with my car, including the convertible top which is broken and is just my favorite part of the car," she said in October 2009. "There is nothing left that is good about it."

The determined college student said Auto One repaired her car for her the first few times there were problems. However, since that time, she said that they have refused to help her.

Bruce Carpenter, General Manager of the Auto One dealership, said last year that they did all they could for the woman, who they said did not get a warranty.

"Everything that was wrong, that she brought it in for, we repaired and gave her back the car in good working condition," Carpenter said.

Last October, Murphy said people were stopping by every day to tell her they had the same problems with Auto One.

The Attorney General's Office had also had complaints with the Auto One dealership, claiming in March 2010 that the dealership failed to honor its obligation to repay customers it overcharged for Department of Motor Vehicle registration fees.

The AG's office said that Auto One, and its owner Matthew Crever, entered into an agreement with the Attorney General's Office in 2009 to fully refund by December 16, 2009 at least 1,000 consumers who were overcharged a total of $38,000 for DMV registration fees.

The dealer was also required to pay $30,000 in civil penalties to the state by the same date. However, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said the dealership failed to meet the deadline, and a lawsuit ensued.

The dealership has since closed down at their Route 233 location.

Oneida County Sheriff's Office said that the car involved in the accident was a borrowed vehicle, and not the same Saab convertible she was protesting outside of Auto One.

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