[Above: Candice Anderson’s mugshot when she was accused of negligently killing her boyfriend in a fatal car crash.]
Candice Anderson has accepted a payout from GM, but says the score isn’t settled. She was racked with guilt for 10 years, as well as a criminal record, thinking that she was responsible for the 2004 crash that killed her boyfriend. She survived with a lacerated liver and nearly all of her ribs broken. She pled guilty in 2007 to criminal negligent homicide believing she was guilty. It turns out she may not have been. Anderson was sentenced to 5 years probation.
“Even before the prosecution, I was persecuted in my community,” she said, “I’ve been told a couple times point blank to my face that I was a murderer. That I killed him.”
Anderson only learned this year that she may not have been at fault. It was revealed in 2014 that General Motors had knowingly failed to recall dangerous cars for at least 10 years. They are currently undergoing a U.S. Congress investigation for fatal crashes associated with the incompetent actions of the corporation. At least 30 million GM cars have been recalled just this year. The NHTSA fined GM $35 million, but wanted to fine them $300 million and have requested that Congress grant them greater abilities to fine corporations larger amounts. GM faces 79 consumer lawsuits asking for a total of $10 billion in damages.
A toxicology report following the fatal crash showed that Anderson had 0.12 mg of a generic version of Xanax in her system. A pill she insists she took the night before the crash. She maintained during the investigation that she was not impaired. The police concluded that her “intoxication resulted in the accident, which resulted in the death of Gene Mikale Erickson.” Neither one of them were wearing a seat belt.
The NHTSA has acknowledged that Erickson’s death is among those caused by defective ignition switches. Anderson has accepted a payout from GM’s Victim Compensation Fund. Her 2004 Saturn Ion was one of the millions of GM cars that had a defective ignition switch, which proved fatal for at least 24 people.
Anderson said, “I’m not satisfied…I’m content. You can’t put a dollar amount on 10 years of your life [or on] Mikale’s life.”
GM has acknowledged that some of their employees knew about the defect 10 years before it was revealed to the public and government, but did not take any action to fix it.
Anderson said, “I am ready for it to be over. I just want to move on. I don’t have the endurance for a lawsuit and a long-drawn process.” The settlement will be divided between Anderson, Rhonda Erickson, Mikale’s mother, and Mikale’s two teenage daughters.
Erickson’s mother struggled with accepting the settlement, “Will the deaths and suffering of so many have just been forgotten now? What justice is done if I agree to this?”
Despite these new findings, Candice Anderson must check the box on all job applications stating that she is a felon. Only a pardon from the state of Texas can change that now. Pardons are hard to come by though.
“I think the pardon is the biggest thing because it’s going to determine where my life goes from here,” Candice Anderson said. “I’m hoping Mary Barra will join in to help… I think her standing firm and supporting me would be a big eye opener for the state.”
Barra refused to do so in an interview with CNN Money, the GM CEO said, “That is something for the courts to decide…I don’t think it is appropriate for [GM]…to step in.”
Former District Attorney Leslie Poynter Dixon, the prosecutor who prosecuted Anderson, wants to see her pardoned, “After learning of this information, it is my opinion that no action or omission of Ms. Anderson was the cause of the accident that led to her criminal charges…I feel it is important that, at this point, we come together to do whatever we can to alleviate any further damage and pain that this horrific tragedy caused her.”
Candice Anderson would like to move forward with her life and begin a career as a nurse, but that depends on whether the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles lifts the label of felon off of her.