Texas Woman Exonerated Due To GM Ignition Switch Recall

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon

A Texas woman was exonerated when a seven-year-old negligent homicide conviction was overturned due to evidence linking the conviction to the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall.

Automotive News reports Candice Anderson was cleared in the death of her boyfriend in 2004, which happened in her Saturn Ion. Though police stated Anderson was under the influence of illegal drugs at the time of the accident — leading to the conviction in 2007 — both the prosecutors and the state trooper who investigated the accident conceded that she had nothing to do with what occurred, citing the ignition switch at the center of the recall as evidence.

Her boyfriend, Gene Mikale Erickson, was one of the original 13 fatalities GM linked to the recall, with its own investigation turning up a May 2007 report linking his death to the failed deployment of airbags due to a loss of power, likely caused by the troubled ignition switch.

Though having previously settled with the automaker in 2008 for $75,000 — most of which paid legal fees and provided for Erickson’s two daughters from a previous relationship, as per the terms of the plea bargain — Anderson may have more to gain, having submitted paperwork for her and on Erickson’s behalf to the victim compensation program operated by the office of Kenneth Feinberg. She is weighing her options, however, as she would waive her right to sue upon acceptance, though any lawsuits would already be hindered by GM’s 2009 bankruptcy protections.

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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  • STRATOS STRATOS on Nov 25, 2014

    Regardless of her mental state or driving ability,it was the fault of the car.New GM ,old GM ,they have to compensate her properly.If they can pay the CEO Mary Barra $14 million on her first year ,which is way more than the entire Toyota board,they can afford it.

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    • Marcelo de Vasconcellos Marcelo de Vasconcellos on Nov 25, 2014

      @Marcelo de Vasconcellos Yes, I agree. Sorry for my lack of rigueur in saying which GM.

  • Petezeiss Petezeiss on Nov 25, 2014

    Was boyfriend wearing a sealt belt? Was he just as loaded or more so? I'm not seeing a human tragedy here, more like a little birth control.

  • 50merc 50merc on Nov 25, 2014

    Excuse me, but can we stop and consider Ms. Anderson as a human being despite her flaws? She has suffered much. From the NYT: "In May 2007, five months before Ms. Anderson entered her guilty plea, G.M. had conducted an internal review of the crash and quietly ruled its car was to blame, but never let Ms. Anderson or local law enforcement officials know. [Actually, it's worse than that: GM lied to them.] After the crash on Nov. 15, 2004, Ms. Anderson’s parents liquidated their 401(k) to retain a lawyer to defend her. While a deal with prosecutors spared her jail time, she was on probation for five years and paid more than $10,000 in fines and restitution. She also suffered serious injuries in the accident, including a lacerated liver. But the guilt surrounding her own survival and her boyfriend’s death caused her more enduring pain, she said. When the hearing was over on Monday, Ms. Anderson, her family, and Mr. Erickson’s mother, Rhonda, went together for the first time to visit Mr. Erickson’s grave." Increasingly, I am of the view that GM--and not just one engineer--acted like scum. Like they say in that salsa ad, Get a Rope.

  • Turf3 Turf3 on Nov 25, 2014

    OK, let me see, Loaded, drives off the road, no skid marks, somewhere between when she started the car and when she ran into a tree the ignition switch moved away from the "on" position, airbags did not deploy. Scenario 1) She runs off the road high as a kite, in the bouncing as the car runs off the road the ignition switch moves. Scenario 2) As she is proceeding along the road in a reasonable and prudent manner (despite being high as a kite) suddenly, for no apparent reason, the ignition switch moves all the way from "on" to "lock" (at least two positions, maybe three) and locks the steering. Then, for some reason, she does not freak and slam on the brakes (maybe the aforementioned kite phenomenon), but instead continues off the road at her reasonable and prudent speed, until encountering a tree. I'm sorry but scenario (1) seems a lot more likely to me.