Head Of Michigan Health Department & 4 Others Charged In Flint Lead Crisis
June 14, 2017
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced that he has charged Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon (pictured), former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley, former City of Flint Water Department Manager Howard Croft, as well as Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Drinking Water Chief Liane Shekter-Smith and Water Supervisor Stephen Busch with involuntary manslaughter related to their alleged failure to act in the Flint Water Crisis.
Involuntary manslaughter is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and/or a $7,500 fine. In addition to the involuntary manslaughter charges, Schuette also charged Lyon with Misconduct in Office, a felony, subject to 5 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Eden Wells has also been charged with lying to a peace officer and obstruction of justice related to an alleged attempt to stop an investigation into the health crisis in Flint and later misleading investigators as to her actions.
Lyon is accused of failing to alert the public about an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the Flint area, which has been linked by some experts to poor water quality in 2014-15. Lyon is the highest-ranking official to be charged in the state attorney general's investigation.
Flint began using water from the Flint River in 2014 while under state emergency management, but didn't treat it to reduce corrosion. Lead from old plumbing leached into the water system. Legionnaires' is a type of pneumonia caused by bacteria that thrive in warm water and infect the lungs. (JK)