— Candice Anderson, GM car owner and victim of a 2004 Texas crash, has been found innocent in the death of her fiance, Gene Erickson. Mr. Erickson, 25, was killed when Anderson's 2004 Saturn Ion crashed head-on into trees.
Anderson, 21 at the time, believed she was to blame and pleaded guilty to criminal negligent homicide. She was ordered to pay for Erickson's funeral, perform 260 hours of community service, pay $3,500 in court costs and sentenced to 5 years of deferred punishment.
The Blame Game: Shifting From Driver to General Motors
After the crash, Anderson was found to have trace amounts of the anti-anxiety drug Xanax in her system. More importantly, there were no skid marks on the road and crash investigators discovered both the driver and passenger air bags failed to deploy.
Candice Anderson truly believed she somehow caused the accident and Mr. Erickson's death, until the public started learning about millions of GM cars with defective ignition switches. Those switches can move out of the "run" position and immediately shut off the cars, causing a loss of all electrical functions and failure of the air bags to deploy in a crash.
One of the first cars named in the GM recalls was the 2004 Saturn Ion, the same car Anderson was driving when the crash occurred.
After years of guilt and pain, Anderson realized the symptoms seen in the crash of her Saturn Ion were the exact same disasters that occur with the defective ignition switches.
A Lawsuit to Clear Her Name
Anderson sued GM claiming the automaker knew at the time of the crash that the switch was the cause of the crash, yet the company let Anderson take the blame. Anderson also wanted her name cleared in the death of Gene Erickson, and today a Texas judge granted Anderson's wish.
Van Zandt County Texas District Judge Teresa Drum granted Candice Anderson's Application for Writ of Habeas Corpus and declared Candice Anderson innocent of the death of her fiance, Gene Erickson. Texas authorities said they would have never charged Anderson with a crime if they would have known about the defective GM ignition switch.
The Real Criminal in this Case
Anderson's attorney, Bob Hilliard, said something criminal did take place in the death of Mr. Erickson, but Anderson wasn't the criminal.
"8 years ago, the Victim was made to be the Criminal. Now, it's time for the true Criminal, GM, to have its conduct evaluated by district attorneys around the country so the world knows that billion dollar corporations and those that make the decisions inside those
corporations can also go to jail and be subject to the criminal justice system." - Attorney Bob Hilliard
"10 years ago GM got away with killing Gene Erickson. The district attorney's office has made a sound legal decision, as well as an admirable human decision. It now agrees Candice is not guilty of any crime. In fact, Leslie Pointer Dixon, who was the District Attorney at the time has authored a letter to the Board of Pardons laying sole blame on Gene Erickson's needless death at the feet of General Motors." - Bob Hilliard
Candice Anderson and her attorneys Bob Hilliard and Thomas J. Henry