General Motors has celebrated two victorious civil trials surrounding the ignition switch recall, but its third is shaping up to be the toughest case yet.
The Detroit News reports the trial is now underway, involving Zachary Stevens, a Texas teenager arrested for manslaughter. Stevens’ attorney argues the “crash was not caused by a reckless 19-year-old but by a defect GM admits existed. The evidence will show not that Zach was reckless but that GM was.”
However, GM is standing its ground, stating the ignition switch fault was not responsible for Stevens’ actions.
“What caused this accident? Speeding, failing to maintain control of the vehicle, an illegal and deliberate passing maneuver on the shoulder, and a violent steer” to avoid a guardrail, Mike Brock, the company’s lawyer said in opening arguments.
The defense argues Stevens’ careless and reckless driving is what led to the death of another driver, pointing to the police report, which states Stevens’ excessive speed. Stevens’ lawyer says the ignition switch failure led to crash, and death of impacted vehicle’s driver.
Stevens was offered $70,000 to settle out of court with GM, but refused, stating the amount only covered what the family has spent to fight the manslaughter case. The family of the deceased driver has already settled with GM.