Aubrey McClendon, Former Chesapeake Energy CEO, Dies in Car Crash Day After Being Charged With Conspiracy

Aubrey McClendon, chairman and CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp. speaks at the Tenth Oil and Gas Conference in Denver, Colorado, August 9, 2005. Credit: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg News

Aubrey McClendon, the former CEO of Chesapeake Energy, died in a fiery car crash in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, March 2 — just one day after he was charged with conspiring to rig bids for oil and natural gas leases.

According to local news station KFOR, McClendon, 56, was the only person in the vehicle when it hit a bridge at a “high rate of speed.”

Oklahoma City Police Department Capt. Paco Balderrama told reporters during a news conference that McClendon’s 2013 Chevy Tahoe caught fire and the businessman died instantly upon impact.

“He pretty much drove straight into the wall,” he said. “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 fatal accident comes less than 24 hours after McClendon made headlines for a very different reason.

On Tuesday, March 1, the energy executive was indicted for working with two oil and gas companies to keep leases low, a charge that McClendon adamantly denied.

“His actions put company profits ahead of the interests of leaseholders entitled to competitive bids for oil and gas rights on their land,” William J. Baer, assistant attorney general for the antitrust division, told The New York Times. “Executives who abuse their positions as leaders of major corporations to organize criminal activity must be held accountable for their actions.”

McClendon released a statement Tuesday following the claims, stating that the charge was not only “wrong” but also “unprecedented.”

“I have been singled out as the only person in the oil and gas industry in over 110 years since the Sherman Act became law to have been accused of this crime in relation to joint bidding on leasehold,” he said.

McClendon founded Chesapeake in 1989 and was forced to resign in 2013.  

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