Police in Oklahoma confirmed Thursday that the former CEO of Chesapeake Energy was killed in a car wreck early Wednesday morning.
Police officials confirmed Wednesday afternoon that the person killed was Aubrey McClendon, the former head of Chesapeake, a mega natural gas producer in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma City Police Capt. Paco Balderrama told reporters the police are still investigating the wreck, but evidence suggests McClendon was driving at a “high rate of speed.” Balderrama said the forefather of the shale gas boom died instantly.
“He pretty much drove straight into the wall,” Balderrama told reporters at a conference announcing the death. “The information out there at the scene is that he went left of center, went through a grassy area right before colliding into the embankment. There was plenty of opportunity for him to correct and get back on the roadway and that didn’t occur.”
The wreck occurred several hours after McClendon, 56, was indicted for conspiracy to rig the price of oil and gas leases in Oklahoma.
The indictment alleges McClendon worked with another unnamed oil company to keep oil and gas bid prices artificially low from 2007 to 2012, all in an effort to push his competitors out of the market.
McClendon struck a defiant tone after the grand jury indictment was handed down.
“The charge that has been filed against me today is wrong and unprecedented,” McClendon said in a statement. “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.”
The oil pioneer was facing a 10-year prison sentence and a $1 million fine. McClendon went on to become the CEO of American Energy Partners (AEP) in 2013 after leaving Chesapeake in 2012.
“We are tremendously proud of his (McClendon’s) 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,” read a statement from AEP.
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