GM Told Feds It Couldn't Explain Fatal Crashes It Had Internally Linked to Ignition Switch Problems

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 16 2014 10:35 AM

GM Told Feds It Couldn't Explain Fatal Crashes It Had Internally Linked to Ignition Switch Problems

GM CEO Mary Barra.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

General Motors told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration it couldn't explain crashes that its own internal investigations had linked to problems related to defective ignition switches, the New York Times found through Freedom of Information Act requests. The most egregious case involves the death of a Texas man named Gene Erickson:

Mr. Erickson was riding in the front seat of a Saturn Ion driven by Candice Anderson in 2004. They were an hour from Dallas when the car suddenly drove into a tree.

A GM engineer determined that "the engine’s shutting off had most likely been the reason for the crash," but when regulators queried the company, it responded that "it had not assessed the cause of the accident," in the Times' telling. Even worse: The driver of the car had "a trace of Xanax in her system" and pleaded guilty to a charge of criminally negligent homicide even though, given what is now known, she may not have been at fault at all.

Ben Mathis-Lilley edits the Slatest. Follow @Slatest on Twitter.



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