A Texas woman who pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide and has lived the past 10 years believing she killed her fiancé in a car accident had her conviction set aside hours after General Motors Co. confirmed the vehicle she was driving was among those recalled for a faulty ignition switch, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Judge Teresa Drum cleared Candice Anderson of the death of Gene Erickson, 25 years old, Monday during a hearing in Van Zandt County, Texas. Hours before, a GM attorney sent an email to her lawyer saying “the crash involving Ms. Anderson is one in which the recall condition may have caused or contributed to the frontal air bag non-deployment in the accident.”
This was the first time GM publicly linked the accident to the ignition-switch flaw. Earlier this year, the auto maker told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the death was among 13 fatalities it attributed to the ignition-switch flaw. However, the information was never released to the public.
“This is a day that will change my life and my future,” Ms. Anderson, 31, said when contacted by telephone. “I have had to experience all of these different emotions all these years and they have scared me. This helps lift the weight off my shoulders.”
GM recalled 2.5 million vehicles earlier this year after determining that too much weight on or a jarring of the ignition key can move the ignition switch from “run” to “accessory,” thereby cutting the electrical circuit to the air bags and power steering.