Texas Woman Pleads Guilty To Manslaughter and Later Discovers The Fatal Accident Was Caused By Defective Switch

article-2653639-1E9ECC1B00000578-660_634x356150px-General_Motors.svgThere is an interesting case out of Texas where Candice Anderson is suing General Motors over its defective ignition switches. Anderson, however, has more than the usual damages. She is a convicted felon in the death of her fiancé, Mikale Erickson, in November 2004 when she lost control of her 2004 Saturn Ion in Canton, Texas. While she was not drunk or on drugs, the police could not find a reason for the crash so prosecutors charged her with manslaughter. To avoid a longer sentence, she pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years probation as a felon. Later, however, she learned that her case was on GM’s list of accidents caused by their defective cars – no one bothered to tell her.

article-2653639-1E9ED3AF00000578-683_634x363Erickson, the father of two small children, was killed immediately in the crash. Anderson was thrown through the windshield and barely survived. The airbags never deployed — one of the defects that I discussed in an earlier column. Police tested her for alcohol and drugs. She cleared both tests with only a small trace of an anti-anxiety medicine. There were no skid marks or evidence of reckless driving. Nevertheless, faced with no evidence other than the accident, they decided to charge her while she was recovering from her injuries. Faced with the threat of multiple charges and long sentences, she agreed to plead guilty to criminal negligent homicide.

It was Erickson’s mother who learned that her son’s case was one of the 13 fatal crashes blamed on the faulty ignition switches. The defect, as discussed earlier, cut off power, locks the steering, kills the brakes, and disables the airbag.

What is particularly disturbing is that GM knew of the defect and waited ten years, but officials will not only likely escape any criminal charges (unlike Anderson) but have moved to block any liability under a claim of bankruptcy protections.

However, too little attention has been directed at the police and prosecutors in this case. Here you have an accident with no evidence of drug or alcohol influence. No skid marks. However, regardless, she was pressured into a plea. In today’s world with ever-expanding sentencing laws and mandatory minimums, there is enormous pressure to accept a plea to avoid a long prison stint, even if you are innocent. When defendants are later cleared, there is rarely any effort in the media to demand answers from prosecutors or police.

In the end, neither GM nor the prosecutors are likely to be held fully accountable for the case. This case makes citizens look like little more than fodder in both the consumer protection and the criminal justice systems.

Source: CBS

53 thoughts on “Texas Woman Pleads Guilty To Manslaughter and Later Discovers The Fatal Accident Was Caused By Defective Switch

  1. Why are most, if not all defendants threatened with worst sentences if they do not confess their guilt to the court when they are innocent?

  2. I believe there is a pattern in Texas. Woman are over charged with felonies, told to plead guilty or face more time, and then sit in prison for crimes they didn’t even commit. The Federal Government should audit TX women’s prisons and shine a light on what is really going on down there.

  3. Why in the world are people still buying GM cars!? http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_25983374/gm-sales-car-values-steady-despite-recalls. It blows my mind.

    That is really the only thing we as consumers have left to fight back with – our dollars. Yet sales at GM are up? Baffling. What an example being set for other car manufacturers. And don’t get me wrong, I am not naive enough to think that all manufacturers don’t do this sort of thing to some degree, but this was a clear cover-up for over 10 years!

  4. People don’t buy GM cars. People are given GM cars. GM makes offers, budget buyers can’t refuse. If they can’t fool you with financing and trade-in value, they will compel you with price. The comingling of government and corporations.

    Now that they’re Government Motors, they’ll probably start printing money (non-gold backed notes) to give you to buy their cars with. It’s the monetary incest of “the-Constitution-has-evolved” Ben Bernanke’s quantitative easing which employs the “money changer” brilliance that got Bernie Madoff a reservation at Club Fed (aka “Ponzi”), issue the bonds and print the money to buy them with.

    Let’s ask Mullah Obama. He seems to be in on everything…or not. He splained that Taliban release and Benghazi really well. Does Mullah Obama “See The USA In A Chevrolet?”

  5. Agree that this is kind of a lazy article. You rightly note that the prosecutor should be held accountable for putting charging an innocent person without even a shred of evidence suggesting a crime, yet you don’t name that prosecutor. And yet you do name the victim! If we want to get dirty prosecutors like this off the streets and ideally in jail where they belong, a good start would be for the media to bother to tell us who they actually are.

  6. Mechanic,
    IIf I analyze your pitch, I’d say that without a doubt that you are, in some capacity, an agent or supporter of GM/UAW. The facts that you cite are totally off.

    #1. Steering on a non power assisted vehicle varies with the model, and is more leveraged in a non power assisted design. You face nearly double the amount of resistance without engine power, thus making steering very difficult if not impossible to some (you lack enough factors to make an intelligent claim here).

    #2. Power brakes, the same argument as in the power steering above.

    #3. No airbags. This would certainly have been a factor, as to have preventing a death and or injury.

  7. She should get a lawyer to sue them civily, then get her conviction vacated. Imagine how many deaths can be prevented because of the attention her case would bring publicly!!!

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