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Karen Silkwood's Children Discuss Famous Mother

Oklahoman Published: March 6, 1999

TULSA (AP) - After more than two decades of public silence about their famous mother, Karen Silkwood's children decided to discuss her life and mysterious death in a car accident 24 years ago.

Michael Meadows, 29, of Tulsa said he and his sisters - Dawn Lipsey, 28, of Tulsa and Kristi Meadows, 32, of Cleburne, Texas - made a pact years ago not to discuss their mother in the media unless all agreed. He told the Tulsa World that they agreed to be interviewed for a People magazine story published Friday on condition their privacy was respected.

"We talked about it and decided to speak out. We're still not seeking a lot of publicity," said Meadows, who was 3 years old when his mother died. "It's not an easy thing to speak about."

Silkwood, 28, was killed in a car accident Nov. 13, 1974, while traveling from Crescent to Oklahoma City to speak with a New York Times reporter and a union organizer about alleged worker safety violations at Kerr-McGee's nuclear fuel plant near Crescent. Silkwood, a lab technician, had been contaminated by plutonium.

Friends have said Silkwood was carrying a manila envelope containing documents that could prove that Kerr-McGee violated worker safety laws and falsified quality control reports involving the production of plutonium rods.

She was killed when her white Honda Civic swerved left of center on a straight section of State Highway 74, careening over a retaining wall and crashing head-on into a concrete culvert. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol ruled her death an accident caused by falling asleep at the wheel.

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