Aubrey McClendon, the embattled former CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK), has died in a car accident, according to police, although there’s probably more to the story. At this point all we have are the concrete facts from police, but those facts suggest that perhaps the conspiracy charge that was revealed on Tuesday may have been the final straw for a man who’s been embroiled in controversy for years.
Did Aubrey McClendon commit suicide?
Although police are still investigating the cause of the crash, there’s plenty of chatter right now about Aubrey McClendon’s death, particularly due to the nature of the car accident that took his life. According to CNBC, Oklahoma City Police Department Captain Paco Balderrama said the former energy company executive’s car slammed into an embankment while moving at a “high rate of speed” that was much higher than the speed limit on the road he was on.
He also said McClendon “pretty much drove straight into the wall.” Balderrama added that the former Chesapeake Energy CEO appears to have gone “left of center” and through a patch of grass before slamming into the embankment. The police captain also told local media that he had plenty of time to correct and get back onto the road, but “that didn’t occur.
Oklahoma City news station KFOR reports that firefighters were dispatched to the scene of the accident where Aubrey McClendon’s car was engulfed in flames.
Aubrey McClendon charged with conspiracy
Today’s deadly car crash comes the day after a federal grand jury indicted him on charges of conspiracy. The Department of Justice said on Tuesday that McClendon conspired to push down oil and natural gas lease prices by rigging bids in northwestern Oklahoma. Officials allege that he orchestrated the scheme, which involved two major gas and oi companies, convincing them not to bid against each other for the leases.
They said the conspiracy lasted from December 2007 until March 2012 while Aubrey McClendon was CEO of Chesapeake Energy. He denied the conspiracy charge in a statement released on Tuesday, saying he was “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.”
McClendon resigned as CEO of Chesapeake Energy in 2013 amid a controversy involving his personal financial arrangements and perceived conflicts of interest.
Shares of Chesapeake Energy soared today, climbing by nearly 25% to as high as $3.44.