Woman Blamed In 2004 Crash That Killed Fiancé Learns GM Defect Was Cause

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A Texas woman who pleaded guilty in connection to a 2004 car accident that killed her fiancé learned in late May that the crash was the result of General Motors' ignition switch defect.

Candace Anderson was driving when her Saturn Ion went off the road in Canton, Texas, in November 2004. She was 21 years old at the time. There were no skid marks, the air bags did not deploy and there was no obvious cause for the crash, CBS News reported.

Anderson was thrown through the windshield and left in critical condition. Her fiancé, 25-year-old father-of-two Mikale Erickson, died in the crash.

Anderson was charged with manslaughter and pleaded guilty to criminal negligent homicide.

In May, she learned that Erickson’s death is one of 13 that are linked to the GM faulty ignition switch, although GM has not officially taken responsibility for the crashes.

Erickson’s mother, Rhonda Erickson, received a letter confirming the link from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. She says GM has not contacted the family.

"I think they owe me an apology,” Rhonda Erickson told CBS News. “They can't give me my son back. But, I mean, they could at least give me an apology."

“It’s torn me up,” Anderson told the New York Times. “I’ve always wondered, was it really my fault?”

Rhonda Erickson says Anderson’s record should be expunged now that GM confirms the car was defective.

Other families told The Times that they have not heard from GM either.

“It would have been nice if they had acknowledged it, at least to us,” said Margie Beskau, whose daughter Amy Rademaker died in an October 2006 crash in Wisconsin. “GM has just been hiding behind lawyers through this whole thing.”

Sources: CBS News, New York Times