The former CEO of Chesapeake Energy indicted on conspiracy charges for rigging oil prices, allegedly tapped his vehicle’s brakes twice while barreling down a highway at breakneck speed before crashing into a wall, killing the oil tycoon immediately.
Aubrey McClendon was speeding well above the posted speed limit before careening off the highway for 189 feet before slamming into a highway partition March 2.
It is not at all clear why McClendon tapped his brakes, Oklahoma City, Ok. Police Chief Bill Citty said during a press conference Monday. Citty added that the action did not affect the trajectory of McClendon’s Chevy Tahoe.
“I’m not going to speculate on what that tapping of the brake could mean. It could mean a lot of different things,” Citty said.
Oklahoma City Police Capt. Paco Balderrama told reporters March 2 that McClendon’s death was still being investigated, but evidence shows that the grandfather of the natural gas boom was driving at a “high rate of speed.”
“He pretty much drove straight into the wall,” Balderrama told reporters at a conference announcing the death. “There was plenty of opportunity for him to correct and get back on the roadway and that didn’t occur.”
McClendon was indicted on charges of conspiracy to rig oil prices in Oklahoma a week before his death. The indictment alleged the former oil CEO colluded with another oil company to keep oil and gas bid prices at low levels from 2007 to 2012 as a means of keeping competitors out of the market.
He was facing 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine had the court found him in violation of the Sherman Act, a federal antitrust statute.
McClendon initially struck a defiant tone after being indicted, writing in a statement that he was wrongly indicted.
“The charge that has been filed against me today is wrong and unprecedented,” McClendon said in a March 1 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.”
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