Accused Energy Executive's Fatal Car Crash Was Likely An Accident, Police Say

Jun 7, 2016
Originally published on June 8, 2016 6:38 pm

There's no evidence that Aubrey McClendon, the oil industry veteran who died one day after being charged with antitrust conspiracy, meant to kill himself when his car hit a wall at high speed in March, police say.

"Our investigators found no information which would compel us to believe this was anything other than a vehicular accident," Oklahoma City Police Department spokesman Capt. Paco Balderrama tells NPR. He also said that the final report will not be released to the public.

News that the police had reached a conclusion was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. The findings come three months after McClendon's death.

Update at 8 p.m. ET 6/8: Medical Report

The medical examiner says the one-car crash "was an accident, with no alcohol in his system and only traces of a drug commonly used in sleep aids," the AP reports.

Our original post continues:

The police findings stand in stark contrast to the thinking of observers who had speculated McClendon, 56, might have ended his own life rather than face the federal charge against him — which had followed debt problems at Chesapeake Energy Corp.

After analyzing the crash and speaking with people who knew McClendon, police investigators found no reason to suspect anything other than an accident, The Journal reports.

For background on McClendon, StateImpact Oklahoma reports:

"McClendon founded Chesapeake Energy, making billions of dollars during the height of the U.S. shale gas boom. He founded American Energy Partners after he was ousted from Chesapeake in 2013.

"Despite those troubles, it's impossible to overstate McClendon's role in the revitalization of Oklahoma City."

McClendon had called the charge against him "wrong and unprecedented."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.