A Pennsylvania judge determined Wednesday that a woman once convicted of involuntary manslaughter will now likely walk free due to evidence that a faulty GM ignition switch was at fault.
The driver plead guilty to manslaughter and reckless driving in 2012 after she crashed her 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt into the back of a school bus, killing her boyfriend in the passenger seat. He was not wearing a seatbelt.
A look at the vehicle’s data recorder determined she was driving 75 mph in a 35 mph zone just moments before the crash took place.
She served three months of a 1-2 year jail sentence before her attorneys appealed the conviction on the basis GM’s defective ignition switch was to blame for the accident, which eventually led to the court reversal on Wednesday.
The county judge reversed the conviction after hearing from the driver’s attorney who provided expert testimony and GM recall records to help further his claims, according to The Detroit Free Press.
There is also a chance the Pennsylvania district attorney’s office could still decide to retry .
Both the driver and the family of her deceased boyfriend have received money from the GM compensation fund.
The GM compensation fund doesn’t take account for contributory negligence, which is anything the drivers or accident victims might have done to contribute to the crashes in which the ignition switches failed. The attorney argued his client bore “no responsibility for the accident,” in spite of the fact authorities determine she was traveling nearly 40 mph over the speed limit.
“I’m aggravated with GM because had they issued the recall when they were supposed, her criminal defense lawyer would have known about it, and he likely wouldn’t have advised her to plead guilty,” the Freep quoted the attorney as saying.