Car News

Woman Cleared In Death Now Blamed On GM Recall

Candice Anderson was told on Monday that her conviction in the death of her boyfriend, Gene Mikale Erickson, was cleared, even though she pleaded guilty years ago, after the accident was linked to the GM recall of faulty ignition switches.

Anderson, 21 at the time of the accident ten years ago, was driving a GM vehicle when she lost control and crashed into a tree. Erickson, a passenger, died at the scene.

Anderson benefited from a long-delayed admission by General Motors, which on Monday for the first time publicly linked Erickson’s death to an ignition switch defect in millions of its vehicles, the New York Times reported.

[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Candice Anderson” author_title=”Woman cleared in fatal accident”]

It’s overwhelming; it’s a range of emotions. I’m elated. Things are upside side. Or, really, right-side up.


A lawyer for GM said the air bags may not have inflated in the 2004 accident in Texas due to the ignition switch defect that has so far been linked to at least 35 deaths.

Anderson was convicted of criminal negligent homicide in the case and paid $2,500 in court costs and fines. She also performed 260 hours of community service, counseling and five years of probation. She also had to pay restitution for Erickson’s funeral costs. She suffered broken ribs, an injured liver and other injuries in the accident, The Detroit News reported.

Van Zandt County Judge Teresa Drum granted Anderson’s application for a writ of habeas corpus, which is usually the last opportunity a person convicted of a crime has to get the conviction expunged after exhausting appeals.

Earlier this year, GM recalled 2.6 million vehicles, including the 2004 Saturn Ion Anderson was driving, over an issue with the ignition switch that could cause it to leave position and cut power to brakes, air bags and steering.

Anderson said she had been plagued by guilt believing she was responsible for the death of her boyfriend before she learned of the defect.

Neither Anderson nor Erickson were wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident. Anderson was originally charged with intoxicated vehicular manslaughter as a toxicology exam found she had 0.12 per liter of Alprazolam, generic Xanax, in her system. There is no legal limit for prescription drugs while driving in Texas, USA Today reported.

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