Victim In Fatal NE OKC Crash Identified As Aubrey McClendon
OKLAHOMA CITY - The victim in a deadly single-vehicle crash in northeast Oklahoma City has been identified as 56-year-old Aubrey McClendon, Oklahoma City Police confirm.
First responders were called to the scene of the deadly crash just after 9 a.m. on N. Midwest Blvd., between E. Memorial Rd. and NE 122nd. St. to an SUV that had reportedly struck a bridge and burst into flames. One person was pronounced dead at the scene and later police confirmed with News 9 that the deceased individual was in fact McClendon.
The Medical Examiner’s office would not confirm that fact, and said they will have to continue to investigate.
McClendon, the former CEO and co-founder of Chesapeake Energy Corp., was indicted for conspiring to rig bids to buy oil and natural gas leases in northwest Oklahoma on Tuesday. He was expected to turn himself in and appear before a judge at the federal courthouse on Wednesday.
According to CBS News, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a statement that McClendon is suspected of orchestrating a scheme between two large energy companies, which are not named in the indictment, from December 2007 to March 2012. The companies would decide ahead of time who would win bids, with the winner then allocating an interest in the leases to the other company, according to the statement.
On Tuesday, McClendon released what would be his last official statement regarding his indictment:
"The charge that has been filed against me today is wrong and unprecedented. I have 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 in relation to joint bidding on leasehold. Anyone who knows me, my business record and the industry in which I have worked for 35 years, knows that I could not be guilty of violating any antitrust laws. All my life I have worked to create jobs in Oklahoma, grow its economy, and to provide abundant and affordable energy to all Americans. I am proud of my track record in this industry, and I will fight to prove my innocence and to clear my name."
In a press conference Wednesday Afternoon, Oklahoma City police spokesperson Paco Balderrama said McClendon's vehicle, identified as a 2013 Chevy Tahoe, was traveling northbound on Midwest Blvd. at a high rate of speed when it drifted left of center and slammed into the bridge abutment for the Turner Turnpike.
According to investigators, McClendon was not wearing his seat belt and "had plenty of opportunity...to correct or get back on the roadway and that didn't occur."
Balderrama said it might be one or two weeks before investigators can determine the exact cause of the crash and said it is still to early to determine if the crash was intentional.
A memorial service has been scheduled for McClendon at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 5, along the Oklahoma River in front of the Chesapeake Boathouse, located at 725 S. Lincoln Blvd.
American Energy Partners released the following statement regarding this incident:
“It is with deep sadness that AELP confirms that earlier today, its founder, Aubrey K. McClendon died in a car accident on Midwest Boulevard in Oklahoma City. Aubrey’s tremendous leadership, vision, and passion for the energy industry had an impact on the community, the country, and the world. We are tremendously proud of his legacy and will continue to work hard to live up to the unmatched standards he set for excellence and integrity. We will deeply mourn his loss and please join us in expressing our condolences to his family.”
Chesapeake Energy spokesperson Gordon Pennoyer also released the following statement about this incident:
“Chesapeake is deeply saddened by the news that we have heard today and our thoughts and prayers are with the McClendon family during this difficult time.”
Keep checking with News 9 and News9.com for more information.