Police: Ex-Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon Dies in Crash
Oklahoma City police say Aubrey McClendon was killed in this morning's fatal car crash in northeast Oklahoma City.
McClendon was Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of American Energy Partners, LP. Previously, McClendon served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Chesapeake Energy Corporation from 1989-2013. He was also a part-owner of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The crash occurred shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday on Midwest Blvd. in Oklahoma City, between Memorial Road and NE 122nd Street.
Oklahoma City Police Capt. Paco Balderrama says McClendon's 2013 Chevy Tahoe went left of center and collided into concrete bridge pillar at a high rate of speed, before subsequently engulfing in flames.
Balderrama says McClendon was alone and there is no indication he tried to stop his car from crashing. Police say it's too early to tell if the collision was intentional.
"We work a lot of these accidents where people have medical episodes which causes them to just be out of it, and that may be the case," says Balderrama. "We just don’t know at this point."
The crash comes less than one day after McClendon was charged by a federal grand jury with conspiring to rig bids for the purchase of oil and natural gas leases in northwest Oklahoma.
McClendon issued a statement yesterday, following the filing of those charges:
"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. Anyone who knows me, my business record and the industry in which I have worked for 35 years, knows that I could not be guilty of violating any antitrust laws. All my life I have worked to create jobs in Oklahoma, grow its economy, and to provide abundant and affordable energy to all Americans. I am proud of my track record in this industry, and I will fight to prove my innocence and to clear my name."
Condolences continue to flow in for McClendon:
American Energy Partners:
"It is with deep sadness that AELP confirms that earlier today, its founder, Aubrey K. McClendon died in a car accident on Midwest Boulevard in Oklahoma City. Aubrey’s tremendous leadership, vision, and passion for the energy industry had an impact on the community, the country, and the world. We are tremendously proud of his legacy and will continue to work hard to live up to the unmatched standards he set for excellence and integrity. We will deeply mourn his loss and please join us in expressing our condolences to his family."
Governor Mary Fallin:
“My thoughts and prayers are with Aubrey McClendon’s family, friends and colleagues during this very difficult time. Aubrey will be remembered for his innovations in the oil and natural gas industry, his civic generosity and being a driving force to help grow economic opportunities for Oklahoma City. He was a visionary who raised the profile of Oklahoma.”
Oklahoma City Thunder Chairman Clayton Bennett:
"I am overcome with grief. Aubrey McClendon was a visionary community leader, a trusted business partnet and a passionate member of the Thunder family. But more than anything, he was a brother and a dear friend. His love of his community and his desire to make Oklahoma a better place will forever inspire all of us. Louise and I offer our love and prayers to Katie and the McClendon family."
Tom Ward, chairman and CEO of Tapstone Energy:
"This is not only a heartbreaking day for me but a sad day for all of Oklahoma. I met Aubrey when he was 23 years old and had the privilege of being his partner for 23 years. I have never met a man who worked harder or had more love for his state than Aubrey McClendon. My heart and prayers go out to Katie and the family."
Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett:
"First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with Aubrey's family. We will always appreciate and remember Aubrey's generosity and civic pride in our community - from the support of countless local charities to the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Boy's and Girl's Club of OKC to the arts. His philanthropic investments in local schools and universities, the Boathouse District and throughout our city consistently raised the standards of what Oklahoma City could be. His love and support of this community will loom large for decades to come."
Burns Hargis, president of Oklahoma State University:
“I am deeply saddened by the news of the passing today of Aubrey McClendon. He was one of the most visionary and brilliant people I have ever met. He was a difference maker and a key player in the shale revolution in America. He will be greatly missed. At this difficult time, we extend our prayers to his family.”
Oil magnate T. Boone Pickens:
“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.”
Don Betz, president of the University of Central Oklahoma:
The University of Central Oklahoma community is saddened by the death of Aubrey McClendon and we extend our deepest sympathy and most sincere condolences to his family at this very difficult time. Mr. McClendon was a great supporter of UCO through gifts that helped us complete the CHK | Central Boathouse and that funded various scholarships for our students. His kindness and generosity will be long remembered at UCO and throughout the community.