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. I agree with Chuck Stanley regarding the problem with Mechanics claim. As someone who drove cars pre-power steering and power brakes, driving a new car that loses power assist isn’t remotely the same as driving an old car designed for steering and braking without power. The former is far more difficult to steer and brake than the latter. Not even close to a the same.

    1. I grew up when power steering was your arms and power brakes were you feet jammed on the pedal. I have had a car lose power and it is almost impossible to control.

  2. Pete,

    Thank you for conceding the facts, the truth and the debate.

    That was really easy; exhilarating and really easy.

  3. I’m sorry, I didn’t quite get that. Tell me again the difference between offering a plea bargain and extortion.

  4. Mechanic,

    Your argument is not only flawed it is irrevocably failed. The subject of this article is a demonstrably “challenged” woman (she plead as an innocent party) attempting to operate a vehicle. She was not concerned with the technical aspects you recite, she assumed and fully expected simple and easy operability. She was surprised and overwhelmed when that functionality failed. She was assisted by the “assists” you referred to and incompetent when she lost them. You are assigning your own level of competence to her.

  5. Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be,

    There will be an answer, let it be.

    “Let It Be” March 1970

    John Winston Lennon – Paul James McCartney

    Capitalism is nature.

    Capitalism has the answers.

    Let it be.

  6. CAPITALISM DID NOT MAKE THEM TOO BIG TO FAIL.

    PROGRESSIVES MADE THEM TOO BIG TO FAIL.

    Progressives, socialists, democrats, collectivists, communists and Marxists
    are all the same.

    Progressives MADE them too big to fail. They think they can overtax, control the economy, regulate, print currency that isn’t backed by gold, manipulate markets, set wages and spend, spend, spend. They can’t. Only Mr. Market can do that stuff.

    GM would have been carved up long ago by good and natural capitalists. You might just call capitalists, naturalists. GM didn’t get a bailout from capitalism, it got a bailout from corrupt politicians and corrupt corporatists.

    Markets are dynamic, they rise and fall like the tide; like the sun; like rain. You have to prepare for the cycles of capitalism and insure against damage and loss, like one does for earthquakes and tornadoes. Capitalism isn’t evil. It’s natural. It is good.

    Progressives are evil and practice with malicious aforethought. The evil part is that they know they aren’t smarter but they let you think they are.

    Progressives think they are smarter than market forces. They aren’t. It’s just that they buy votes by giving away taxpayer dollars. De Tocqueville told us to be wary of one man, one vote democracy; it’ll get its hands into the cookie jar. It did. Just because politicians can give away tax dollars and secure the votes of common folks, doesn’t mean they are intelligent, capable, motivated, strong and imbued with business acumen. It means they are insidious and slick, like “Slick Willy” and “Hilly.”

    Capitalists employ “constant quality control.” Soon after a business stops generating earnings, it gets liquidated and other companies buy the assets and redeploy them. Capitalism constantly corrects itself.

    Parasites don’t like capitalism because they want free stuff and that’s entirely understandable…it doesn’t create wealth and its selfish but parasitism is entirely understandable.

  7. I wonder how many Turley blog participants and observers bought, read, studied, and put into routine daily use the information in Sidney Dekker’s book, “Drift into Failure: From Hunting Bad Components to Understanding Complex Systems,” Ashgate, 2010?

    I know of one person who observes, and sometimes posts comments to, the Turley blog who bought, read, studied, and put into routine daily use the information in Dekker’s book.

    I am that person.

    Am I effectively as though alone here?

    1. J. Brian – Over my lifetime I have read literally several tons of books (had to weigh some of them when I moved to a two-story to see if the flooring to take the weight [it couldn’t]) but that is not one of them. If it helps I have read Sun Tzu, Mao, Marx, The Prince, Cellini, Grant, Caesar, etc.

  8. How about the engineer who designed the switches and the executives that did not pursue the problems with the switches serve time in prison. How about they pay this woman a large sum of money out of their income to make her as whole as is possible after the ordeal she went through?

  9. This brings to mind the paradox of Lois Lerner being a “red flag” that will trigger

    an AUDIT of the IRS.

    An AUDIT of the IRS. Damn! Thank you, Lois.

    Turnabout is fair play.

  10. Nick wrote “TWO automakers had management and UAW problems”

    I think we are in violent agreement. I just wanted to point out that management makes obscene salaries for poor performance. I was too lazy to verify which automakers received bailouts.

    Don’t get me started on bailouts. We had a chance to intervene (in the FDIC sense) every bank which was in trouble. We allowed ourselves to be halted because Paulson and Geithner were buddies with the bankers; also because we swallowed the lie that, because banks were international, we could not just take them over. Teddy Roosevelt would not have hesitated, but then again, he was a better president than Clinton, Bush II, and Obama put together.

  11. Saucy, TWO automakers had management and UAW problems. Ford and the UAW worked wisely together for years and Ford needed no bailout. The taxpayers of this country were required to reward the negative behavior of GM, Chrysler and the UAW. Rewarding negative behavior is bad parenting and bad governing.

  12. This could get interesting, but you know since prosecutors get points for convictions they are not going to back down on this. And let us not forget all the parents put through hell before they figured out ‘crib deaths’ and the prosecutors charged them with child abuse.

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