There have been a lot of cases over the last ten years related to car defects. GM knew for more than a decade about an ignition problem before it disclosed it to the public. I can remember a few years ago when Toyota had a number of cars recalled related to defects. Unfortunately, innocent people have been charged with crimes due to the car defects and convicted. There were approximately 64 million cars sold in the U.S last year. Car experts anticipate that many more cases are on the horizon due to wrongful convictions related to defects. Five criminal cases this year have been related to car defects.
One lady named Ward-Green spent three months in jail for losing control of her GM car that killed a passenger. This past week a court in Pennsylvania threw out her guilty plea due to “new evidence.” The evidence was the recall of 2.6 million cars for defective ignition switches.
Ward-Green, like so many others, claimed that her car locked up and she did not have any control over the speed. Many prosecutors fail to do any research believing that the individual defendant is looking for an escape goat. In the case of Ward-Green, she was giving a 16-year-old friend, Robert Chambers a lift home from school in September 2010 when her car’s ignition suddenly went into the accessory position, cutting off power to the steering and brakes, according to her lawyers. Consistent with ignition switch defects, the air bags did not deploy. The passenger died instantly.
Ms. Green told the investigators that she did not know how fast the car was going. On the advice of her mother, Ward-Green initially pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving and served three months of a one-to-two year sentence. When she got out, she struggled to find a job. Ms. Green settled a claim with GM related to the car defect. GM notified her that her car defect may have been related to her accident.
Another person, Daniel Perkins was charged, convicted and jailed before GM issued its first ignition switch recalls in 2014. Perkins was driving a 2006 GM Cobalt in New York in May 2006 when he lost control and went off the road. The car rolled over, injuring Perkins and killing his best friend, Joseph Doerfler. The air bags did not deploy.
Perkins pled guilty to negligent homicide and was jailed for six months. He has since accepted an undisclosed settlement from the GM fund, as well as the victim’s family, according to his lawyer, Sidney Cominsky. Perkins spent “nine years in purgatory,” Cominsky said, and now plans to ask GM for help in overturning the conviction.
Cominsky said GM’s settlement brought some peace of mind to his client. “I wish I could say he jumped for joy when he heard,” Cominsky said. “He just sat there teary-eyed and said, ‘I knew it wasn’t my fault.”
The most important issue here is to do research and investigate a case. In these types of cases it is important to hire an expert to examine the car and the accident scene. The difference can lead to not being criminally responsible for an accident to being convicted of a crime that is not your fault.
I can help you get the relief you are entitled to. Call Joseph Ingram with INGRAM LAW LLC at (205) 335-2640.. Get Relief – Get Results.