A North Texas woman believed for a decade she caused the car accident that killed her fiancé.
She pleaded guilty to criminal charges, but now believes General Motors is to blame.
Candice Anderson, 31, is suing GM, alleging that the car company covered up problems with faulty ignition switches.
Anderson was behind the wheel of her new Saturn Ion in November 2004 when it veered off a rural road in Canton, southeast of Dallas, and crashed into a tree.
Anderson suffered head injuries, a severed liver, a ruptured spleen and broken ribs and femur. Her fiancé, 25-year-old Mikale Erickson, a father of two, died.
“For 10 years, I thought I caused the death of my best friend,” said Anderson. “It's a lot to carry.”
Anderson and Erickson's mother sued GM following the accident, but settled for $75,000. GM, according to Anderson's attorney, blamed her in that suit.
Anderson had trace amounts of an anti-anxiety medication in her system that she’d taken the day before, and there were no evasive action skid marks.
Anderson pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide.
“Five months before I pled guilty, they knew,” said Anderson. “They had the investigation, everything was going on…they sat on their hands and watched me go through that. It's unbelievable.”
According to court documents to reopen the lawsuit, GM covered up issues with faulty ignition switches.
Anderson says the pivotal piece of evidence is a recent letter from the National Highway Safety Administration. She says it confirms what GM would never admit: that Erickson is one of 13 deaths included in the automaker's investigation of a safety defect in the Ion.
“It was senseless,” said Anderson. “It could have been fixed for 57 cents. You know, the part.”
Anderson wants vindication and for GM to be held accountable in her case and the other 12 recall-related deaths, even if it means reopening a painful wound.
“It's literally like going back to that day, that time period,” said Anderson.
In a statement, a spokesperson for GM said, "We are taking responsibility for what has happened by taking steps to treat victims and their families with compassion, decency and fairness. We made serious mistakes in the past and as a result we're making significant changes in our company to ensure they never happen again."
KDFW FOX 4 400 N. Griffin Street Dallas, Texas 75202
Main Station Directory: (214) 720-4444 News Fax: (214) 720-3263 or (214) 720-3333