Aubrey McClendon, Founder And Ex-CEO Of Chesapeake, Killed In Single-Car Crash
Aubrey McClendon, the former CEO and chairman of Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE: CHK), was killed in a single-car accident in Oklahoma City on Wednesday morning.
"First responders were called to the scene of the deadly crash just after 9 a.m. on N. Midwest Blvd., between E. Memorial Rd. and NE 122nd. St. to an SUV that had reportedly struck a bridge and burst into flames," Oklahoma's News 9 reported. "One person was pronounced dead at the scene and later police confirmed with News 9 that the deceased individual was in fact McClendon."
Oklahoma City Police Chief Paco Balderrama told Benzinga that investigators are looking at the vehicle's computer system to determine whether the driver braked before hitting the wall.
McClendon, 56, was indicted on Tuesday on charges of conspiring to rig bids for oil and natural gas leases in northwest Oklahoma.
According to NewsOK, "The indictment claims McClendon led a conspiracy between two large oil and natural gas companies, which agreed to not bid against each other for leases. The companies agreed which would win the leases, and the winner would give an interest in the leases to the other company, the indictment claimed."
McClendon denied the claims Tuesday and in statement said: "The charge that has been filed against me today is wrong and 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."
Chief Balderrama said the facts of the case are "rather cut and dry" and could not confirm or deny at this time if the crash was a suicide.
McClendon co-founded Chesapeake in 1989. Following multiple legal issues, he resigned as CEO in April 2013. He founded American Energy Partners soon after.
McClendon was also part-owner of the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder, helping bring the franchise to Oklahoma in 2008.
Shares of Chesapeake were trading more than 25 percent higher on Wednesday; As news of McClendon's death hit wires, shares ticked even higher, recently trading at $3.66, up 32 percent.
In a statement, T. Boone Pickens said, "I've known Aubrey McClendon for nearly 25 years. He was a major player in leading the stunning energy renaissance in America. He was charismatic and a true American entrepreneur. No individual is without flaws, but his impact on American energy will be long-lasting."
Spencer White contributed to this report.
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