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After a Decade of Guilt, a Woman is Cleared in the Death of her Boyfriend and General Motors Admits Guilt

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On November 15, 2004, Candice Anderson lost her boyfriend in a car crash caused by a defective ignition switch in her General Motors– (GM-) made Saturn Ion, but it would be years until the 21-year-old would know the cause of the tragic accident.

For a decade, Anderson wrestled with guilt over the loss of her boyfriend, Gene Mikale Erickson, believing she had caused his death. She was behind the wheel when the vehicle suddenly lost control and crashed into a tree. Anderson suffered severe injuries, including a lacerated liver, but her physical injuries seemed the least of her problems. She was charged with criminally negligent homicide, which she pleaded guilty to in October 2007. Anderson’s parents liquidated their 401(k) to pay for a lawyer for their daughter. Though Anderson managed to avoid jail, she spent five years on probation, paid more than $10,000 in fines and restitution and struggled to find work, according to The New York Times (Times).

Late last month, Anderson received news that would set her free in every way: Erickson’s death was not her fault. A Texas judge officially cleared Anderson in her boyfriend’s death.

After the accident, the police trooper who investigated the crash deduced that Anderson was intoxicated before receiving the drug test results. The trooper concluded that Anderson caused the accident because of the wreck’s inexplicable nature, Anderson’s history of recreational drug use, “and Anderson’s behavior at the scene,” which was disoriented and emotional. Anderson never knew that in May 2007, five months before she pleaded guilty, GM had conducted an internal review of the crash concluded that Anderson’s Saturn Ion, equipped with one of the faulty key ignition switches that have been mentioned so many times in the media this year, was to blame. The auto maker never bothered to inform Anderson or local law enforcement officials of their discovery, the Times reported.

But finally, 10 years after the day that changed Anderson’s life forever, GM admitted fault. The woman’s Saturn Ion was among the cars fitted with defective key ignition switches, which can cause a sudden loss of power, disabling power brakes, power steering and airbags. At least 35 deaths have been linked to the defect. It took GM more than a decade to publicly acknowledge the dangerous problem and millions of vehicles have been recalled as a result, according to the Times.

James R. Cain, a spokesman for G.M., said in a statement: “We have taken a neutral position on Ms. Anderson’s case. It is appropriate for the court to determine the legal status of Ms. Anderson.” Anderson is hoping to benefit from GM’s victim compensation fund. The district attorney who prosecuted Anderson wrote a letter in support of Anderson in July stating, “Had I known at the time that G.M. knew of these issues and has since admitted to such, I do not believe the grand jury would have indicted her for intoxication manslaughter.” The Times viewed the letter.

Anderson has not heard directly from GM. “I don’t expect I ever will,” she told the Times. disclaimer: This article: After a Decade of Guilt, a Woman is Cleared in the Death of her Boyfriend and General Motors Admits Guilt was posted on Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014 at 4:01 pm at and is filed under Accident Lawsuits.

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