On March 1st, energy executive Aubrey McClendon was charged with conspiracy. This was based on him buying up gas fields in an attempt to drive down the prices for energy leases. A day later, he died in a car crash. Authorities have not gone so far as to declare it a suicide, but the nature of the crash along with the logistics makes that a strong suspicion. Captain Paco Balderrama of the Oklahoma City police department was quoted as saying, “There was plenty of opportunity for him to correct and get back on the roadway, and that didn’t occur. Mr. McClendon was not wearing a seatbelt.” As authorities examine the car, they should be able to establish more information regarding what happened.
At the indictment a day prior, the justice department said, “McClendon instructed his subordinates to execute the conspiratorial agreement, which included, among other things, withdrawing bids for certain leases and agreeing on the allocation of interests in the leases between the conspiring companies. His actions put company profits ahead of the interests of leaseholders entitled to competitive bids for oil and gas rights on their land.”
Unfortunately, both the nature and timing of McClendon’s death bring up many more questions than answers at this stage. Local authorities will need to explore if his death was in fact intentional. Beyond that, it remains to be seen what will happen with the charges, and how the alleged crimes stemming from them will be resolved.