A Texas judge has absolved a woman of responsibility in the death of her fiancé following a 2004 car crash. His ruling followed an admission by General Motors regarding an allegedly faulty ignition switch linked to other alleged GM fatalities. GM’s lawyers had sent a letter linking the crash to a faulty ignition switch to the presiding judge.
On Nov. 15, 2004, the woman, then 21-year-old Candice Anderson, lost control of her Saturn Ion and struck a tree. Her fiancé, Gene Mikale, who was in the passenger seat, was killed in the crash. Anderson sustained a lacerated liver in the fatal wreck. She pleaded guilty in 2007 to criminally negligent homicide, and that resulted in a sentence of five years of probation. Five months before her plea was entered, an internal GM review concluded that the Saturn Ion itself was at fault, but the automaker did not disclose this information to authorities involved in the case. According to the New York Times, Anderson’s parents had drained a 401(k) account to pay a lawyer to defend her. She was able to avoid time in jail, but she had to pay more than $10,000 in restitution and fines.
The case had previously attracted national attention during Senate hearings into alleged GM fatalities connected to problem ignition switches. In July 2014, Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal specifically referred to this case as a “perversion of the justice process.” At the time, he asked GM’s CEO and its top lawyer to contact Texas Gov. Rick Perry to urge that a pardon be granted. They would not do that, but they did say that evidence to support the exoneration of the woman would be provided. It was, and it led to the judge’s decision.
So far, 36 fatalities have been linked to GM’s faulty ignition switches. When an ignition unexpectedly shuts off, engine power is lost, power brakes are disabled and power steering does not work. Also, airbags do not deploy. Lawsuits have been filed in the aftermath of some of these alleged GM fatalities.
Have You Been Hurt in a Crash Linked to GM’s Faulty Ignition Switch?
If you or someone you know has been hurt in a crash that may have been caused by the defect in GM’s now recalled ignition switch, or if a loved one died as a result of one of those crashes, contact Attorney Group. Our team of experienced professionals can evaluate your case at no out-of-pocket cost to you. If we determine you have a claim for your injuries or loss, one of our affiliated attorneys can work to protect your rights. Call Attorney Group today for details on how we can help you receive a monetary compensation for your injuries or loss.