Fiery crash that killed shamed oil tycoon just hours after he was indicted was accident, not suicide: ruling

OKLAHOMA CITY — The fiery crash that killed U.S. oilman Aubrey McClendon in March after his car hit a wall was an accident, Oklahoma’s medical examiner said on Wednesday, echoing a police inquiry’s findings a day earlier that there was no evidence of suicide.

The examiner said he died of “multiple blunt force trauma” and his corpse suffered “charring” and “burns” after his Chevy Tahoe slammed into a concrete bridge abutment on March 2. The crash happened a day after federal prosecutors indicted him for violating anti-trust laws by rigging bids for oil lands.

McClendon, who failed to show up at a dinner with friends the night of the indictment, denied the charges.

Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP

Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via APA mourner pays his respects at at a roadside memorial where Aubrey McClendon died in a single car accident in Oklahoma City, on March 3, 2016.

Toxicology tests showed there was no alcohol in his blood at the time of the accident.

Details of the crash, in which his vehicle was driving well above the speed limit at 88 miles (142 km) per hour, stunned the U.S. energy industry.

Many executives worried McClendon, a leader of the U.S. fracking boom who was ousted in 2013 as CEO of Chesapeake Energy after a shareholder revolt, had committed suicide.

On Tuesday, Oklahoma City police said they found no emails or notes to suggest he was contemplating ending his life, but acknowledged his state of mind at the time of the crash was unknowable.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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