Woman Learns She Didn't Kill Fiance, GM Defect Did

Candice Anderson pleaded guilty in connection with 2004 crash

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 5, 2014 7:11 AM CDT

(Newser) – On a November 2004 morning in Texas, Candice Anderson was driving her fiance, Mikale Erickson, to pick up his car from a friend's house when her Saturn Ion failed to negotiate a slight curve, went off the road, and hit a tree. The airbags did not deploy and there were no skid marks; Erickson was killed, and Anderson barely survived. She had a trace amount of Xanax in her system at the time, and though there were no other drugs nor alcohol present, authorities charged her with intoxication manslaughter. She ultimately pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide and served five years' probation, though she always wondered what caused the accident—she has no memory of the day. Late last month, she found out: Erickson's death is one of the 13 GM has linked to its faulty ignition switches; the car had lost power, which would have also disabled the airbags.

"It's been a question if I was at fault for his death, and I've carried it for so long," Anderson tells CBS News. "Every part of my life's been affected from it." Last month, Erickson's mother, Rhonda, explained to the New York Times that she had initially been angry with her son, who was 25 at the time, and Anderson, who was 21, assuming their recklessness (they had both experimented with recreational drugs, possibly as recently as the night prior to the accident) was the cause of the accident. But now she knows the truth—she wrote to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to have it confirmed—and she believes Anderson's record should be cleared. Both women also want an apology from GM, which never contacted the Erickson family to assume responsibility for the crash.

In this Jan. 12, 2009 file photo, the General Motors logo is on display at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
In this Jan. 12, 2009 file photo, the General Motors logo is on display at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
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I’ve gone out there and looked at the scene so many times. It doesn’t make sense. Why would I not be able to make the tiniest little sway to the right? - Candice Anderson

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