Jury: GM car's ignition switch not to blame in fatal crash

HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas jury today found that a General Motors Co. ignition switch was not to blame for a 2011 accident that killed one driver and injured another, handing the carmaker its third courtroom win this year in a series of trials designed to help attorneys settle dozens of similar claims.

The jury deliberated less than two hours in reaching its verdict in a trial that began Aug. 9.

Zachary Stevens and his parents had sued GM, claiming a faulty ignition switch in Stevens' Saturn Sky jostled off, causing him to lose control of his car and hit another vehicle, killing its driver. Stevens' attorneys say he suffered a traumatic brain injury and a skull fracture in the accident.

The switches can slip out of the on position, causing the cars to stall, knocking out power steering and turning off air bags. GM says it has fixed the problem.

Josh Davis, Stevens' attorney, said that while his client never hid the fact that he was speeding before the accident, Stevens and his family still maintain the ignition switch was the main cause.

"It's obviously very disappointing," Davis said after the verdict. He had asked jurors to award the Stevens family more than $14.5 million.

Attorneys for GM told jurors in Houston the accident was caused by Stevens' reckless speeding on a rain-slick road.

"As a result, an innocent man was killed. The accident had nothing to do with either General Motors or the ignition switch," GM spokesman Jim Cain said in a statement after the verdict.