Woman’s conviction overturned after car accident linked to defect

A conviction of manslaughter has been overturned for a person who was accused of killing a passenger in her vehicle in a crash. According to an article from August 27, a woman had been convicted of involuntary manslaughter after she was accused of reckless driving in 2012. At the time, the 25-year-old woman had been driving 75 mph in a 35 mph zone when she collided with a school bus and telephone pole. Her boyfriend, a 16-year-old at the time, was killed in the accident. He was not wearing his seatbelt.

Normally, crashes like this wouldn’t necessarily result in convictions being overturned, but her case is special. According to the story, the woman’s vehicle was part of the GM recall for a faulty ignition switch.

In 2014, General Motors recalled a shocking 2.6 million vehicles like the 25-year-old woman’s 2007 Chevy Cobalt, which was involved in the crash. These vehicles had ignition switches that could suddenly turn off, resulting in the vehicles stalling and disabling airbags that could prevent injuries in the case of an accident. Power steering and brakes also turned off when the ignition switch turned off, making it hard for drivers to get back into control of their vehicles.

The reason the woman isn’t being charged for speeding is that her car’s data recorder shows her at only 35 mph when she swerved to avoid a vehicle. That was when the ignition switch moved and forced her to lose control of her vehicle. Because these facts have come to light, she’s no longer been found guilty of the accident.

Source: Detroit Free Press, “Manslaughter conviction reversed due to GM ignition,” Joe Mandak, Aug. 27, 2015