Texas woman cleared of death linked to defective GM ignition switch

Candice Anderson walked out of a courtroom after a decade long struggle to clear her name.

"I never thought this moment would come," she said. "Never in my wildest dreams would I ever have thought it would come down to this."

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Candice Anderson, left, hugs a supporter.
CBS News

Anderson was driving a Saturn Ion when it crashed in 2004. The airbags never deployed. Anderson's fiance, Mikale Erickson, died. In June she told us she was thrown through the windshield and barely survived.

"The emotional guilt -- all these years. You know, it's been a question if I was at fault for his death, and I've carried it for so long," she said.

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Mikale Erikson.and his children.
courtesy

Anderson had a trace amount of anti-anxiety medication in her system, but no other drugs or alcohol. She was charged with manslaughter, and pleaded guilty to criminal negligent homicide.

Now, General Motors has delivered a letter to the judge in Van Zandt County, Texas, acknowledging the vehicle was defective. It's information GM never released when Anderson was originally prosecuted.

"I shouldn't have had to be the one to reach out to them," said Bob Hilliard, Anderson's attorney. "I started asking them weeks ago to show up at this court house in Texas and stand with me and ask this judge to do what she just did. Judge Drum just decided to acquit Candice Anderson because she is actually innocent of this incident and of this crime.

With Anderson cleared, prosecutors in Texas say they will now explore criminal charges against GM.

In a statement, General Motors said "We have and will continue to cooperate with authorities investigating the ignition switch issue."