LOS ANGELES: Oklahoma City Thunder part-owner Aubrey McClendon died in a one-car crash in Oklahoma City police said on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila), a day after being indicted.
Police said McClendon, who owned a 20 percent stake in the NBA Thunder, “drove straight into a wall” at high speed, crossing a grassy area and accelerated rather than correct the vehicle’s path, although Oklahoma City Police Captain Paco Balderrama stopped short of describing the crash as intentional.
The vehicle was engulfed in flames, but McClendon, 56, likely died on impact, Balderrama said.
The incident took place less than 24 hours after McClendon was charged with conspiring to accept illegal bids for the purchase of oil and natural gas leases in northwest Oklahoma.
McClendon was part of the ownership group that convinced Clay Bennett to bring the Thunder to Oklahoma City from Seattle. He was also the former chief executive of Chesapeake Energy, the company that owns the naming rights to the Thunder’s downtown arena. McClendon had left that group to launch a rival energy company.
If convicted of accused violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act, McClendon faced 10 years in prison and $1 million restitution for each crime committed. The indictment claimed a conspiracy ran from December 2007 to March 2012 with those involved deciding who would win bids and that winner allocating an interest in the leases to the other company.