Candice Anderson was cleared in the death of her boyfriend, Gene Mikale Erickson, which occurred nearly a decade ago, which has now been tied to a General Motors defective ignition switch.
According to a news report in The New York Times, a judge in Texas cleared Anderson in the death of her boyfriend even though she had pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide in the case years ago.
Anderson was only 21 at the time of the crash. She was driving her Saturn Ion when she inexplicably lost control and crashed into a tree. Erickson, her passenger, died at the scene.
Anderson’s record and guilt were cleared just last week when GM admitted for the first time publicly that its defective ignition switch caused that crash.
GM Knew Its Car Was to Blame
Anderson’s Saturn Ion was among millions of cars GM recalled just this year for the defective ignition switches. These faulty switches can cause a loss of power disabling power brakes, power steering and airbags in the vehicles. So far, at least 35 deaths have been linked to the defect, which went unreported by GM for more than 10 years.
In May 2007, just five months before Anderson pleaded guilty, GM conducted an internal review of the crash and quietly ruled its car was to blame. But the automaker never let Anderson or local law enforcement know about its determination.
Anderson suffered severe injuries in the crash herself. Her father had to liquidate their 401 (k) to retain a lawyer to defend her and she was placed on probation for five years and had to pay more than $10,000 in fines and restitution.
Failure to Disclose Serious Defects
GM’s defective vehicles have no doubt affected so many families with lives lost and injuries suffered. They have had their impact on Anderson, who has had to live with the guilt of killing her boyfriend and accused of driving under the influence of drugs. The aggravating reality in all of this is the fact that GM could’ve prevented a lot of heartache for so many people.
By letting consumers know about these defects, the automaker could have prevented injuries and deaths. By giving police and prosecutors the correct information about this case, GM could have helped free Anderson of murder charges.
This week, Arizona became the first state to file a lawsuit against GM claiming that the automaker had defrauded the state’s consumers of an estimated $3 billion. The lawsuit is the first legal action against GM over its record number of recalls this year.
The complaint states that the automaker intentionally misled consumers through its advertising, website and public statements and that some of its top leaders were complicit in the cover-up.
As auto product liability lawyers who represented the family of the first known victim of the GM ignition defects, we at Bisnar Chase hope justice is served for all victims and families.