Energy Tycoon Dies in Crash One Day After Indictment

Aubrey McClendon 'drove straight into the wall'
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2016 9:56 PM CST
Updated Mar 3, 2016 12:03 AM CST
Energy Tycoon Dies in Crash One Day After Indictment
Aubrey McClendon died in a single-vehicle crash a day after he was indicted on federal antitrust charges.   (AP Photo/File)

Just a day after being indicted by a federal grand jury over alleged bid rigging, energy tycoon Aubrey McClendon died Wednesday morning in a fiery car wreck that occurred after he "drove straight into [a] wall" in Oklahoma City. Authorities say they need time to determine if the crash—which involved McClendon's SUV crossing the center line, traveling across a grassy area, and slamming into the base of an overpass—was intentional, the AP reports. However, Police Capt. Paco Balderrama says, "There was plenty of opportunity for him to correct and get back on the roadway and that didn't occur." The former CEO of Chesapeake Energy and part owner of the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder wasn't wearing a seatbelt. Per the DOJ, McClendon allegedly orchestrated a conspiracy between two unnamed oil and gas companies in which, rather than bidding against each other, they'd decide ahead of time who would win certain oil and gas leases.

"His actions put company profits ahead of the interests of leaseholders entitled to competitive bids for oil and gas rights on their land," a prosecutor said in the DOJ's release. In a Tuesday statement, McClendon claimed he had "been singled out as the only person in the oil and gas industry in over 110 years since the Sherman Act became law to have been accused of this crime" and vowed to fight the charges. Bloomberg reports the 56-year-old faced up to 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine. McClendon, who leaves behind a wife and three children, is being recalled as a fracking pioneer; NPR reports that while most Americans wouldn't know his name, "his impact on his industry, region—and actually, the whole country—was huge." The New York Times shares how T. Boone Pickens, who knew McClendon for 25 years, categorized him: "charismatic … a true American entrepreneur," adding, "No individual is without flaws." (More fracking stories.)

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